K rock Football

Wood wary of Darebin

Geelong coach Nat Wood addresses her players earlier in the season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

FOR so long a powerhouse of women’s football in Victoria, Darebin now finds itself loitering near the bottom of the VFLW ladder with just two wins for the season.

However, Geelong coach Natalie Wood, who was a premiership player with the Falcons, knows better than anyone that ladder position should be put to one side when you play the two-time VFLW premier.

And that makes Wood wary going into the clash at Preston City Oval on Saturday.

“There’s a lot of personnel changes year-to-year with the AFLW (influence),” Wood said. “But then there’s also changes with teams week-to-week, so Darebin is in a similar boat to most.

“Having a look at their games, they’ve got a lot of tall targets, so they’re quite good in the air. And they’re quite good around the ball.

“Lauren Pearce is a very dominant and powerful ruck, but also her second and third efforts are outstanding. I think she led the clearances for Darebin last week.

“Then you’ve got some really quality players like Elise O’Dea and Lauren Arnell in and around the ball, so that’s going to be a real test for us.

“What we’ve been working on with our contest work has really been developing, and we’ve been proud of the way group’s started to work together.

“Not it’s another opportunity for us to keep improving that.”

Geelong will have 11 of its AFLW players in the side, with key defender Bec Goring, young ruck Rene Caris, midfielder Jordan Ivey, and forward Georgie Clarke returning to the team that defeated second-placed Southern Saints before last week’s bye.

However, big Kate Darby and midfield gun Julia Crockett-Grills will be rested.

“We’ve planned that out with the AFLW players around making sure they get breaks,” Wood said.

“They’ve had a really strong voice in when suits them best with work commitments, and family commitments, and study.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

VFL WOMEN’S ROUND 12

DAREBIN FALCONS (12th) vs. GEELONG (8th)

Preston City Oval

Saturday, July 27, 11:30 am