K rock Football

Stewart takes AFLW role

Geelong AFLW coach Paul Hood (bottom right) with assistant coaches (clockwise), Natalie Woo,d Aaron Black and Tom Stewart. (Geelong Cats Image/Tom Collings)

THE high regard defender Tom Stewart is held at GMHBA Stadium has been further emphasised by his appointment to a coaching role with Geelong’s AFL Women’s team.

The All-Australian, who was still yet to be drafted this time two years ago, will be an assistant to Paul Hood alongside Natalie Wood and the recently retired Aaron Black.

A chance to develop his coaching and improve his football means Stewart “jumped at the opportunity” to join the AFLW coaching staff when approached by Cats’ football boss Simon Lloyd.

“With the coaching side of things, I see myself in the future as possibly doing something like that,” he said.

“It’s more so just having a crack and seeing what it’s like, and the opportunity was there, so why not do it?

“In a playing sense, being able to see the game a bit differently from the sideline and understand the way we’re trying to setup – albeit through the girls.”

Stewart, who will oversee the Cats’ defensive unit, will be at training and match-days that don’t conflict with his playing commitments.

He comes in with some knowledge of the group, with a significant number having been part of Geelong’s VFLW program for the last two years.

“To have as many local girls as we do is fantastic,” Stewart said.

“And having the girls playing some curtain raisers before us last year got (me) some exposure to some of the girls like Bec Goring and these sort of girls down back.

“So I know what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to move forward with them.”

Stewart says he will be leaning on mentor and Cats assistant coach Matthew Scarlett for advice.

“I was just asking him then about his training regime and the sort of drills we’ll be doing at the AFL level,” he said.

“As much trickle-down stuff I can get from the AFL boys, I’ll bring it straight to the AFLW program and try and emulate the same things and work on the same basics and fundamentals of the game.”

Stewart is also looking forward to working alongside Black, whose AFL career was brought to a premature end by a serious knee injury suffered during the 2018 season.

“Blacky, in a coaching capacity, is a fantastic person,” Stewart said.

“I’m sure the club jumped at the opportunity when he said he wanted to do a coaching aspect as well.

“It’s awesome to have him around, and I couldn’t be happier to do it alongside of him.”

As well as the appointments of Stewart and Black, VFL Women’s assistant coaches Oscar Owens and David Morgan will both have development roles at AFLW level.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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