K rock Football

New leaders for North

Newly-appointed North Geelong Women’s co-coaches Alisha Habib and Jeff Czajkowski. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

NEWLY-appointed North Geelong co-coaches Alisha Habib and Jeff Czajkowski have set themselves the goal of assembling a squad strong enough to be part of next year’s AFL Barwon Division 1 Women’s competition.

The Magpies, who were a pioneer for the recent growth of the women’s game in the region, have endured a rollercoaster last few years.

After winning the inaugural Division 1 premiership in 2018, a player exodus had North Geelong considering its future.

However, after a plea for players, the Magpies lifted themselves off the canvas to claim the 2019 Division 2 flag.

Habib, who was playing-coach of the North Geelong team that won the VWFL Division 2 premiership in 2014, is keen to build on that foundation.

“We’ve got a squad of about 15 at the moment, and our work in the next few days is recruiting some players back to the club,” she said.

“We’re looking at getting some leaders and role models into the side, and seeing how we go.

“If we can get to Division 1, that would be great.”

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Czajkowski is a stalwart at Keith Barclay Oval, with four years as assistant coach of the club’s senior men’s team and a stint in charge of the club’s Colts.

He has also coached the GDFL under-18 representative team.

“The men’s side of it is getting really professional, even at GDFL level, and the commitment is really high,” Czajkowski said.

“But, I love coaching, and I love the club, so these two opportunities marry together really nicely.

“The fact that there was a coaching opportunity, but it wasn’t at that high pressure and serious level of the men’s side.”

Arguably one of the most distinguished women’s footballers to come out of Geelong, 39-year-old Habib has ruled out a return to the field, having not played since announcing her VFLW retirement in the middle of the 2018 season.

“I’m happy to be on the path of coaching and seeing some talent out there produce some good footy,” she said.

Anyone interested in playing with North Geelong in 2021 can contact Alisha Habib on 0411 981 313.

Twitter: @tom_king79