'I can't really say I had a pre-season last year': Blues' reborn ruck

CARLTON got a glimpse of the 'old' Brea Moody from the first bounce on Friday night.

Winning the season's first hitout, the 180cm ruck followed up her good work to claim the clearance, sprint from the middle and immediately drive the Blues forward.

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It was reminiscent of the Moody that claimed the club's 2018 best and fairest, but not the one that had at times been frustrated throughout an arduous season from an individual perspective last year.

Moody, 22, had returned to Carlton on the eve of the 2019 season after six months in the United States, where she studied sports science and business at Iowa State University.

It made preparing for last year's campaign a difficult process, with the snow that frequently falls across the midwest over Christmas one more hurdle for Moody to overcome on her way to round one.

"I can't really say I had a pre-season last year," Moody told womens.afl.

"I tried, I did try. I went to the gym and did some running, but when it gets to -14 degrees outside … I'm not spending too much time out there.

"I'm a lot fitter this year, I've had a good pre-season under my belt. Knowing that the pre-season let me down last year, it was 100 percent what I wanted to aim for and work on this year.

To go out and play round one and to come off feeling as well as I have and as fresh as I do, it's a credit to the strength and conditioning guys because they've turned me around pretty well

Brea Moody

Moody returned to Carlton this summer fresh and ready to stamp her authority on the team's image, further motivated by her inability to contribute as consistently as she'd like last season.

"I hated how I felt about my season last year, knowing that I've got so much more to give but that I didn't have the fitness to give it," Moody said.

"With that came a little bit of a lack of motivation and determination. Instead of coming to game day feeling excited, I think I lacked a bit of confidence and I was unsure about what I was going to be able to provide.

"This year I didn't want to give myself any excuses. I busted my arse through pre-season to get back to what I know I can be. Now I think we'll be able to reap the benefits, not only of my pre-season but of the pre-season that we've all had."

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The game's opening clearance, which kickstarted a match that yielded nine disposals, 17 hitouts and three marks, was the first sign that things were going right for Moody this season.

She was later rewarded with seven out of a possible 10 votes in the AFL Coaches' Association Player of the Year award, highlighting the influence she had over the contest.

Now, she's keen to make such a contribution a regular occurrence and to consistently give a young midfield featuring Madison Prespakis and Lucy McEvoy first use as often as possible.

"The mids and I have been trying a few different things," Moody said.

"To get that first bounce, it was an aim of mine to set the tone among the mids.

"To know those little things boost not only my confidence but my teammates' confidence, it's awesome and I obviously want to keep doing that."