K rock Football

Shackles off for Cats

Geelong AFLW coach Paul Hood and Collingwood counterpart Wayne Siekman at GMHBA Stadium. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG coach Paul Hood has urged his girls to play with freedom in tomorrow night’s historic AFL Women’s clash with Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium.

The Cats will make their debut in the competition in front of a crowd some a predicting will nudge 20,000, and Hood is looking forward to seeing how his team performs in the game’s top-flight.

“We’re trying to find from every player what are you capable of – let’s really push it to the limit,” he said.

“That’s what training’s for. You make all your mistakes at training and learn what you can be capable of.

“Maybe you’re a little bit conservative in games, but we don’t want that to last too long.

“Tomorrow night is going to be about pushing yourself to the limit, having fun, and finding out how good you can be.

“These youngsters, they don’t know yet. They’ve got no ceiling and no fear, and I can’t wait to see them go out there and embrace that kind of attitude.”

AFL WOMEN’S: HICKEY WITH MORE WORK TO DO

Hood expects the occasions to result in a fast-paced start.

“There’s no way to avoid it. All the players are extremely competitive people who have been working hard for a long time, and now they get to compete for real.

“It’s going to be a feisty start. People are going to be working really hard to win that contest and win that battle.

“That’s Round 1 of every sport all over the place. We can’t avoid that – we don’t want to avoid that – and we’ve got a team that’s grown up on the big stadium of GMHBA or at Deakin University.

“Most of our squad have learnt footy over the last two years knowing that you have to fight, then you have to run a long way to get to the next contest.

“We’re really excited to be playing here and have an opportunity to do that tomorrow night.”

AFL WOMEN’S: AT SELECTION – ROUND 1

Like Geelong, Collingwood will field a number of debutants drafted from the TAC Cup, and coach Wayne Siekman says the meeting with the Cats will give women’s football fans a glimpse of the future.

“We took a step back at the end of last season with the expansion and really invested in the draft with youth and trying to build a sustainable team and build success from that, for not just this year but the next two or three years,” he said.

“Similar to the Geelong model that they went with last year, which was different to what North (Melbourne) did.

“So we’re two sides competing tomorrow night (that are) both young, both looking for the future, so it’ll be an exciting night for not just Geelong and Collingwood fans but the for the industry to show the young talent on the way up and where the competition’s going.”

“Whatever happens tomorrow night (for) either side, they’re going to be better as the year goes on, and then even better next year and the year after that.”

Twitter: @tom_king79