K rock Football

Cats commit to young guns

Geelong will draft Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison and Denby Taylor. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG has committed to selecting star Geelong Falcons trio Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor in Tuesday’s AFL Women’s National Draft.

The Cats have ten picks in at what will be the club’s first draft ahead of its entry into the AFLW competition in 2019.

Geelong has been able to announce it is selecting Morrison, Purcell and Taylor after all three selected the Cats as their preferred destination.

Morrison, who shared this year’s TAC Cup best-and-fairest, is widely tipped to go with the prized first pick but has played down her chances of Geelong calling her name to open proceedings.

“I’m not really too fussed, to be honest,” she said.

“I don’t really care where I go; I’m just happy to end up at a club.”

AFL WOMEN’S: STRESS-FREE DRAFT FOR CATS

It’s been a whirlwind two years for Morrison, with the 17-year-old only picking up a Sherrin for the first time when encouraged by her dad to attend the inaugural talent identification day at Deakin University’s Elite Sports Precinct in November 2016.

“I didn’t even know it was a tryout day for teams … I’m not really sure what I thought it was,” she said.

“I just came down and wasn’t really expecting too much from it.

“Then I talked to Katie (Geerings, from the Falcons) and it went from there.”

Purcell, who looks up to the likes of Rory Sloane, Steele Sidebottom and Emma Kearney, says her nerves about what football future held has been tempered by Geelong’s announcement.

The 18-year-old, whose dad Kane was taken with pick No.30 by Collingwood in the 1991 National Draft, says playing a handful of games with the Cats’ VFL team, including the grand final loss to Hawthorn has prepared her for the next step.

“When Nina and I played those last few games, it definitely made it easier knowing what it’s like to play against those senior bodies,” Purcell said.

“It was really good to be in that environment and get that transition for next year.

“It was more physical … but I like that side of the game.”

It has been a tough few months for Taylor since being named best-on-ground in the Falcons’ TAC Cup grand final win over the Northern Knights.

She battled a knee issue late in the season before being diagnosed with glandular fever on her return from the under-18 National Championships on the Gold Coast in July.

“Once I came back I went downhill and got the tests (to confirm),” Taylor said.

“I missed about a month of school at the start, and I haven’t got back fully into the football either.

“It’s taken a bit of a toll on me, but we’re getting there.”

However, her recovery has been aided by the Cats confirming they will use one its draft picks to select the Newtown & Chilwell product.

“It’s definitely a privilege to have this opportunity, and I’m really grateful that I can do into this (draft) with little less nerves than the other girls,” Taylor said.

The Cats will have selections 1, 2, 7, 14, 20, 22, 35, 47, 57, 62.

MEANWHILE, the Cats have welcomed Deakin Unversity as a co-major sponsor of its AFLW team as part of a multi-year partnership.

The deal will see Geelong utilise the Elite Sports Precinct at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus as its primary training venue in the lead-up to the 2019 season.

“Deakin is passionate about inspiring women to achieve their goals in whatever they choose to do, which is why we are thrilled to continue our support of the Geelong Cats to achieve its goals in the AFLW league,” vice-chancellor Jane den Hollander said.

“We know that sport is good for our health and fitness, along with emotional well-being and socialisation, but we also know that girls continue to drop out of sport before boys, so it’s been particularly exciting to watch the VFLW competition inspire so many more girls into sport.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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