MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Charlotte Wilson of the Blues handballs during the round five AFLW match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at Ikon Park on March 02, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

When the AFLW season was shut down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic it came as a blow to all involved.

Arguably none more so than Carlton, who had began to put together a terrific run of form and looked destined for a deep finals run.

However, the season was cut short and left to forever be speculated upon and asking: "what if?"

Speaking exclusively to Zero Hanger, exciting Carlton defender Charlotte Wilson said the Blues had a sense of "unfinished business".

"I think it definitely was a bit of a lost opportunity (the season ending prematurely) … we had put in the work and on a bit of a roll and really had momentum.

Wilson did go on to say that there was a real excitement and buzz around the group at Carlton now they are able to get another crack at it.

"There's a lot of emotions, it's really exciting. We're probably a bit nervous but also motivated and excited to have a crack on Thursday night because we have a lot of unfinished business without getting an end to last year."

Carlton's men's team has opened the AFL season every year bar one since 2008, while the AFLW team has had the honour of opening the new season in every edition of the competition.

Wilson said it was a tremendous honour that the club doesn't take lightly.

"It's a privilege to be able to play the opening game of the season, it's really exciting because you don't know where everyone sits. It's all very unknown." she said.

Wilson went on to speak about some of the younger players who had stood out this pre-season and players the fans should be excited to see.

"Mimi Hill is looking really good, she's very fit and able to break tackles and burst out of packs really well in midfield," Wilson added.

"Same with Elise O'Dea, who came across from Melbourne. She's a really strong player in the midfield again, very vocal and is a great leader."

At this stage the AFLW season is set to go ahead with no hubs and interstate travel allowed, but Wilson said the players are prepared for sudden changes.

She also went on to say that it would be harder for the women to commit to hub life due to a lot of them still having work outside of football.

"We've all got to be really flexible but we've always had to be, as a female athlete when you're part-time we're already juggling other part-time work, full-time work, study or family," she said.

"I do think it would be hard for us to commit to a long time in the hub like the men had."

Personally, Wilson is hoping to find some more consistency heading into the new year after a breakout game in 2020 saw her collect a career high 19 disposals in Round 4 against Adelaide.

"I'm working on it, I think that game was a product of lots of hard work and not just physically, but I also look through a lot of vision with coaches on learning how to read the game better."

Star forward Taylah Harris had caused some eyebrows to raise during the week when she departed training early, however any queries over her fitness were put to bed later that day.

Wilson confirmed that the Blues star forward would be right to go come Thursday night.

"She will be there, she is right to go. She's an absolute legend and she will give it everything she's got on Thursday night."

It's hard to talk about Carlton without mentioning Maddy Prespakis, as the 20-year-old won the Rising Star and the AFLW Best and Fairest in 2020 all in her first season.

It's hard to see how she can improve but Wilson has assured Carlton fans that their superstar is ready to go to another level.

"She's worked really hard in pre-season, I'm sure she can always get better. She's an absolute legend around the club.

"She always puts her body on the line for the team, I'm sure she'll continue to bring something special to the team and the game."

The Blues kick off the AFLW season on Thursday night against Collingwood.