K rock Football

Hickey falls short of return

Geelong AFL Women’s captain Mel Hickey. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG coach Paul Hood says captain Mel Hickey needs more training under her belt before making her AFL Women’s return.

Hickey had hoped to make her return from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered while playing for Melbourne in March last year in the Cats’ historic clash with Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night.

However, not only will she miss the meeting with the Magpies, she’s no guarantee to take on the Western Bulldogs in Round 2.

“She’s not far away. It’s probably just a matter of quality training sessions at speed,” Hood told krockfootball.com.au following the release of the Geelong team on Thursday night.

“The exact number left to go, we’re not going to get into it too publicly.

“But we really hope to see her in the first half of the season.”

“It was always going to be a tightly run thing.”

Hickey was among six players, along with Richelle Cranston (suspended), Elise Coventry (knee), Hayley Trevean (hip), Hannah Burchell (knee) and Erin Hoare (foot), who couldn’t be considered by Hood’s coaching staff.

Draftee Georgia Clarke was close to selection after suffering a head knock at training earlier in January.

However, Hood says the Cats were happy to take the conservative approach.

“We’re in a position where we’d like to give her a bit more training to make sure she’s as sharp as possible,” Hood said.

“So, that’s what we’ll do.”

Geelong had its final training session on Thursday night, and Hood says there was plenty of enthusiasm among the group.

“It did feel good. There was a little bit of competitive stuff, but a lot ball movement as well and getting used to the size of GMHBA Stadium again,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic advantage for us to train here before we play; some shots on goal, kick outs from defenders, and all the sort of stuff you do when you’re at home.

“It was a really nice session.”

Twitter: @tom_king79