K rock Football

Dan leaves nothing to chance

Geelong AFLW coach Dan Lowther. (Geelong Cats Image)

DAN Lowther is confident he has covered all bases ahead of Geelong’s AFLW season opener against North Melbourne at Arden Street on Saturday afternoon.

The rookie coach, who replaced inaugural Cats mentor Paul Hood in mid-2021, has left no stone unturned in ensuring the Cats are ready to take on the Kangaroos.

“The last five months of preparation and planning for tomorrow has taken up so much time and thought,” Lowther said.

“Now, coming to 24 hours out from the game, I’m hoping I’ve covered what I need to cover.

“But, in terms of nerves, preparation and the way I feel, I think we’re in a good space.

“I think we’ve done enough preparation, planning, and reflecting on last year, and we’ve planned the best that we can for some change that we can see tomorrow.”

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It will be a baptism of fire for Lowther, with North Melbourne’s two wins over Geelong since entering the competition in 2020 coming in at a combined 108 points.

“The last couple of games, they’ve given us a good touch-up, and the girls have taken that personally,” he said.

“Yeah, Round 1’s always the most important game after a long pre-season, but I think, from the player’s perspective, they want to see some improvement, and against North Melbourne’s a great test.

“The whole playing group and staff want to see us turn the tables a little bit.”

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Lowther has confirmed at least five players will pull on the navy blue and white hoops for the first time.

Recruits Chantel Emonson (Melbourne) and Chloe Scheer (Adelaide), No.2 draft pick Georgie Prespakis, mature-age signing Olivia Fuller, and Irish addition Rachel Kearns will all take on the Kangaroos.

The Cats will officially release their team later on Friday, with Lowther confirming COVID-19 has provided headaches for the club.

“The last 48 hours have seen two or three of our players have to follow the AFL’s health and safety protocols,” he said.

“We’ve got our own little issues to deal with. A week ago, we had 30 fit and healthy players ready to go, which is outstanding, and a credit to our conditioning and medical teams.

“We’re going to have to fight the ongoing fight that everyone’s doing with the ongoing COVID protocols.”‘

North Melbourne will be without star midfielder Emma Kearney as part of the AFLW’s COVID-19 protocols.

However, Lowther knows that won’t make life any easier for Geelong.

“It’s one less gun to worry about, but they’ve got a number of great players,” he said.

“It will give us an advantage, in some respects, but it won’t take away from the talent the Kangaroos have got.”

Twitter: @tom_king79