K rock Football

Back issues behind Garing

Renee Garing starred in the pre-Christmas running. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

A PAIN-free Renee Garing is hoping to put what she learned from missing the majority of the 2018 VFL Women’s season into action when Geelong opens its inaugural AFLW campaign against Collingwood on Saturday night.

The former local netball star missed all but five games last year after being slowed by a fractured sacrum.

However, when it became apparent she was going to play again in 2018, Garing made sure she got something out of the year.

“Once they gave me a role on game day, I took it as learning role; taking stats, I was allowed in the line meetings, I was in the coaches’ box,” she said.

“I was able to hear what the coaches were seeing, what they were talking about.

“So, in terms of learning, I think I had more growth last year than if I was on the ground.”

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Garing says the chance to sit in the coaches’ box was a blessing in disguise but admits it would have been tougher to handle at she not already been signed one of Geelong’s early AFLW signings.

“If I hadn’t of been, and I was trying to prove my spot and get drafted, it would have been a bit more of a mental battle, I think,” she said.

“The fact I knew I had a spot, and I just had to do what I needed to to get right for this year, helped a bit.

“But there was still so much I wanted to work on to get ready.”

The high-regard Garing is held in at the Cats was highlighted by her inclusion in the six-woman leadership group.

It also includes established AFLW stars Mel Hickey, who was named captain, and Aasta O’Connor, who Garing says have driven the standards to a higher level than what most of the list has experienced at VFL level.

“We’re not girls who have just started playing footy,” Garing said. “In the first year of VFL (2017), I couldn’t kick straight. There had to be that flexibility to work through that.

“The second year, there was still a large portion of girls who were new to the game or that level.

“Now we’re at AFLW there’s no excuse.

“The likes of Aasta and Hickey, they’re really vocal in drills to remind everyone you can’t produce sub-standard effort because we won’t be able to achieve at this level.”

Twitter: @tom_king79