CARLTON coach Daniel Harford has brought the fun back to the Blues this year.
After a dispiriting 2018 season, which saw illness strike then-coach Damien Keeping and skipper Brianna Davey tear the ACL in her right knee in round two, Carlton has bounced back to qualify for Sunday’s NAB AFL Women’s Grand Final against Adelaide.
Harford, who on Wednesday was named the AFLCA AFLW coach of the year, has reinvigorated the squad and has created a fun, positive environment where players want to be.
To that end, womens.afl spoke to Harford to get his unique take on some of his star players.
Maddy Prespakis: "She might be the second-best player in her family, considering how well her sister did in the NAB League a few weeks ago (Georgie kicked seven goals in a half for Calder Cannons). Used to work at Hungry Jack’s and she's now at Rebel sports, so she's rising through the ranks."
Tayla Harris: "Her best friend is her dog Beans, who's more important to her than footy and boxing combined."
Brianna Davey: "I found out the other day she was only 16 when she debuted for the Matildas (the Australian soccer team), which is incredible. And if you look at her Instagram, she may have a favourite sister."
Kerryn Harrington: "One of the most intense competitors I've met. She works with the boys (Carlton’s AFL team) as a physio during the week."
Lauren Brazzale: "About to be delisted because she didn't know who I was (Brazzale said in an interview with Women's Australian Rules Football Radio she hadn't heard of Harford before he was appointed coach). Has the best smile in football."
Georgia Gee: "Joined at the hip with Maddy Prespakis. We call them 'Velcro'."
Alison Downie: "Recently named 'Big Doona'. It was a basketball nickname that for some reason hadn't crossed to football in two years. We've now changed that."
Gab Pound: "The practical joker of the group. There was a period of several weeks where right shoes were disappearing from lockers before the end of training. Girls and staff would return to find only their left shoe in their locker. It only ended when a big garbage bag was unearthed recently in the locker room, filled with right shoes."