K rock Football

Cats back on track

Geelong’s AFLW season has come to a sudden end. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

A TWO-week induction period starting tonight (Wednesday) will mark the official beginning of pre-season for Geelong’s AFLW team.

The majority of the Cats’ list has been involved in a pre-pre-season since early October ahead of what will be the third season in the competition for the Hoops.

Coach Paul Hood expects Geelong will have around 20 sessions before Christmas, before returning early in the new year ahead of an expected February start to the home-and-away season.

“We’ve got about six weeks where we do about three sessions a week, and we’ve got a couple of skill development sessions in this induction period,” he said.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but we can make some big gains in the next few months, I think.

“We look to grow all aspects of our game, and the focus now is on the decision-making, and making the right choice more often when we have the footy.

“We’ve had a really good period of skill development in the last month, which has set us up to hit the ground running in pre-season.

While Hood will continue as coach, all three line coaches have changed since the early shutdown of the 2020 AFLW season due to COVID-19.

Former Geelong player Daniel Lowther, who had an analyst role in the Cats’ AFL men’s program before becoming a victim of staff cuts, will take on the midfield, which was previously held by the departed Natalie Wood.

“It’s been a great get for us to get Daniel into the program,” Hood said.

“He comes with a lot of current knowledge, and I’m looking forward to him working with the group.”

Local football great Josh Finch has been promoted to oversee the Geelong backline, with star AFL Cat Tom Stewart taking a step back following the recent birth of his first child.

Finch, who won four Les Ash Medals with Bellarine league club Modewarre, joined the Cats as a development coach last year.

“We’ve got Finchy doing what he did last year, basically, in looking after the defenders,” Hood said.

“Stewy will still come in as a bit of a consultant from time-to-time.”

And former North Melbourne and Geelong utility Aaron Black returns to the club to as forwards coach having last held the role in 2019.

Fellow former Kangaroo Scott Thompson performed the role in 2020.

“Blacky started a family last year and was pretty busy,” Hood said.

“But now that things have settled down; he’s got a business where he’s working from home, so he’s got a lot more time to put back into football.”

With all five of Geelong’s draftees (Darcy Moloney, Laura Gardiner, Olivia Barber, Stephanie Williams and Carly Remmos) undertaking Year 12 exams, Hood doesn’t expect to have his full list together until later this month.

“The draftees come in on a limited basis during their exam period, so we only see them a couple of times a week, which is fine,” he said.

“Exams will be over before we know it, and then they’ll be training full-on with the rest of the squad.

“We’ve seen all of them to a small degree so far, other than Liv Barber, who’s up in NSW.

“But she’ll be finishing her school commitments earlier than the Victorian players, so we’ll be seeing her pretty soon.”

Twitter: @tom_king79