K rock Football

Cats hunt more talent

Geelong AFL Women’s duo Hannah Burchell (left) and Danni Orr. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

TALENTED female athletes considering a switch to Australian Rules football have been urged to “have a go” by someone whose chance nearly passed them by.

Small forward Danni Higgins, who was a local star netballer, is part of the inaugural Geelong AFL Women’s squad, but she nearly missed her opportunity two years ago when the Cats were assembling their inaugural VFL list.

“I didn’t go to the (Talent) ID day,” Higgins admitted. “Once I saw in the paper and on the internet about some of the other netballers, like Renee Garing, and basketballers like Anna Teague having a go, it really gave me the confidence to think, “you know what, maybe I could do it.”

“I definitely regretted not going initially; then I was fortunate enough to be able to come to come to another trial here at the Cats with a number of other girls and got added to the squad, which I’m very thankful for.”

The Cats, Geelong Falcons and AFL Barwon will join forces for the third talent identification day at Deakin Unversity’s Elite Sports Precinct at Waurn Ponds on Saturday.

As well as football skills, there will be a 20m sprint and a 2km time trial.

“Sometimes we don’t get that second chance, so it’s really important to take those opportunities when they come and make the most of them,” Orr, the sister of North Melbourne star Shaun Higgins, said.

“Don’t be afraid to come along. I’m sure there will be other people in the same position as you who have never played before, and that’s the whole point of the day.”

Geelong VFL Women’s coach Natalie Wood says the Talent ID day is a key component in continuing to develop the game across the region.

“Right from the start, our aim’s been to make sure that we’ve got a sustainable program that’s really benefitting the experience and the football growth that’s occurring in Geelong,” Wood said.

“We’re really excited to continue to see the development that’s coming out of AFL Barwon.

“Also considering other code-hoppers that are considering football seeing the success of some of our local girls have had over the last couple of years.”

Eight players on the Geelong on the club’s AFLW list have come to notice through previous Talent ID days.

“And that’s a credit to not only themselves with the work they’ve put in with their other sports previous, but once they’ve got into our program, they’ve brought some elite standards and some elite behaviours, which has allowed them to really flourish,” Wood said.

“To have Nina Morrison come down and she was able to get into the Falcons program, to have Renee Garing, Elise Coventry, Dannielle Orr – they’re all in the AFLW program.

“I think it highlights the talent in the region, but I think it also highlights the program, that we have been able to develop and nurture some raw talent, and they’ll be on display for the winter and the AFLW.”

Twitter: @tom_king79