She became the first AFLW player to be traded when she moved from Collingwood to Carlton on Tuesday, and Nicola Stevens has now opened up about why she made the switch.
In a conversation with foxfooty.com.au, the 2017 All-Australian and Collingwood best and fairest winner said her move to the Blues was for her personal development, believing Carlton could give her the best chance of doing just that.
“It was a decision that I had been thinking about for a really long time,” Stevens said.
“After that last round, I was ready to get away for a little bit and switch off. I went overseas to Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks. I had a lot of time to reflect on the season, what that was and what that provided for me.
“I was really grateful that Collingwood provided that opportunity. And I’m still incredibly thankful.
“But in terms of football development, I was looking for an opportunity to develop myself and take my footy to the next level. But in the end it was a really easy decision for me to make with Carlton.”
Stevens has a strong relationship with Carlton coach Damian Keeping, who has coached the 24-year-old’s in the Western Bulldogs v Melbourne exhibition games in the past.
A new role also awaits Stevens at Carlton, who will likely move up the ground following her brilliant season in the backline with the Magpies.
“I’ve been coached by Damo before in the Bulldogs’ exhibition games,” Stevens said.
“He has been a really big part of my football development. Carlton want me to play a different role and have more of an impact up the ground. I thought that would be great opportunity to challenge myself.”
Despite potentially qualifying as a tier one player at Collingwood next season and earning more money, Stevens said her move across town was an easy one to make.
“Carlton for me was an easy decision when I was able to see clearly what I wanted in my football,” she said.
“I watched them from afar last season and I could tell they were building something special.”