K rock Football

No nerves for Cats

Geelong opens its inaugural campaign on February 2. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

STAR forward Phoebe McWilliams is confident Geelong won’t be overawed by the occasion when it makes its first AFL Women’s appearance next  month.

A crowd of more than 20,000 predicted for the clash with Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on February 2.

The Cats have had just one practice match in the lead-up, but McWilliams says the two-point win over Carlton will hold the Hoops in good stead.

“That slow start will make sure we’re switched on from the first bounce come Round 1,” the former GWS Giant said.

“That’s what practice matches are good for. They let you see the areas you need to improve, and I think that was one we might have a focus on.”

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McWilliams didn’t miss a game with the Giants in the first two AFLW seasons and is happy to share her knowledge with her younger teammates.

“I try to, but I think our younger players are pretty switched on as it is,” she said.

“I saw that on the weekend when I saw Denby Taylor taking on two Carlton opponents and beating them with twists and turns.

“And Nina Morrison – I don’t know how many possessions she got, but she was everywhere.

“It’s different playing in front of larger crowds, but they would have experienced that – Nina and Liv (Purcell) – playing in the VFL Grand Final.”

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McWilliams gave Geelong fans a glimpse of her talent with a four-goal haul against the Blues, but the 33-year-old was quick to play down her performance.

“It’s nice to get your hands on the footy and get some scores on the board; it’s good for your confidence,” she said.

“And I think the forward line worked really well together. I was able to kick the goals, but it was the way team worked together that allowed that to happen.

“It was a lot to do with the delivery into the forward line from our mids. Our mids did really well, and if they’re kicking it in well, it makes your job pretty easy as a forward.”

Twitter: @tom_king79