LUCY McEvoy is expecting plenty of 's**t-talking' when Sydney takes on her former side Carlton at Ikon Park this Friday.
Relishing a more permanent switch to the back line, the Swans’ captain doesn’t quite know how the Blues will feel running out against her – but she’s sure they’ll let her know early.
“It’ll be weird,” McEvoy said.
“Being back at Ikon in the visitors will be very different. I’d been there a few times and had often thought ‘hey this isn’t that bad for a visiting team’ but that’ll be a strange feeling.
“I'm not too sure yet what to expect from the Carlton girls. Will they talk a little bit of banter or completely blank me? I'm not sure.”
The Swans got over the top of Carlton in a pre-season practice hitout but the teams have never met at AFLW level, something McEvoy believes could play to the visitors' advantage.
“It will be a bit of the unknown from the first quarter but I'm just trying to focus on what we can do as a team and what we need to keep them out," she said.
“If the banter comes, I’ll be right involved and if they don’t say a word to me, I won't be too flustered by it.
“I won’t be pulling any tackles! I am still good mates with a few of them. But once you step over the white line it's game on and we'll shake hands at the end of the day – depending on how bad the chat is!”
McEvoy's penchant for backline banter was one of the first notes that new coach Scott Gowan gave to her, when the pair met while Gowans was the assistant coach of the Blues' traditional rivals Collingwood.
“[Gowans] mentioned to me when he was assistant coach at Collingwood, he said my weakness was my s**t-talking!" McEvoy joked.
“I didn’t think I was that bad or that I do it very often but clearly when I do it it’s not that good.”
It wasn’t bad enough, however, to deter Gowans from inviting McEvoy to join his leadership group upon her move north in 2023.
While the co-captain is still figuring out what her leadership style will look like within the emerging Bloods AFLW culture, she believes the foundations for a truly competitive women’s side are already in place, something she bought into with her decision to join the squad.
“Every little bit of what I was attracted to about Sydney has proved true,” McEvoy said.
“We’re still trying to establish what the Bloods culture looks like for us but it feels like that grit and the harder-style play. I’m also working on how I can add to that club culture being chosen as co-captain.
“I think we've got a great idea of what we want it to be and what we want to be presenting when we go out in the field but it's just that how we do that every week and really establish that success of our own.”
Wins over Greater Western Sydney and Geelong have shown glimpses of how that may look in seasons to come and the Blues are shaping as the perfect opportunity to test their consistency.
McEvoy sat down with Gowans and his coaching team this week to deliver some insights into Carlton’s key players and how matchups across the ground could work to Sydney’s advantage.
“[Lucy] presented on a number of players in the oppo meeting where we went through their strengths and weaknesses,” Gowans said.
“We do that with any player that comes from another club… through their eyes you can get in depth with it.”
McEvoy will be keeping a keen eye on goalsneak Abbie McKay for any forward line forays but is more aware of the threat that Breann Moody is to the Swans' backline.
“[McKay] comes forward which I've seen she has a little bit just in some of the games I've watched she's snuck up there a bit and got one on the weekend against Richmond, so I’ll be aware if she comes down there,” McEvoy said.
“They've got some really good forwards. Moody should be a good match up for [Ally] Morphett and I think she’ll learn a lot against her. If she goes forward, she's obviously quite difficult to match up on.
“They’ve got Mia Austin who is not super tall, but she's super athletic and a great take of contested marks so I might end up on her at some stage but I'd back out defence in.
“I'd like to think that our defence one-on-one is quite good as well. Hopefully, we can get the job done.”
McEvoy leads a backline with limited experience but limitless heart.
“The girls down there; they're awesome,” she said.
“They're absolute competitors and they want to get better every day which is who I want to work with it. It makes me better as a player, to be around them and help drive that group growth.
“I think we can establish ourselves as one of the best defences in the competition if we if we keep doing the little things well.”