K rock Football

Hood happy with progress

Geelong AFLW coach Paul Hood. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Paul Hood)

GEELONG AFLW coach Paul Hood says the playing group has worked hard to ensure they are all on the same page heading into its inaugural season.

The Cats have wrapped up their pre-Christmas training block, having been on track for around six weeks.

“The players themselves have been fantastic at getting together, spending time understanding one another, talking about football, and also talking about the type people they are and how they want to jell together; they’ve done a great job of that organically,” Hood told krockfootball.com.au.

“We had a camp here at Deakin a couple of weeks ago, which was terrific to spend some time together.

“What’s important to remember is, although this is a new group, there’s a lot of experienced players and a lot of mature heads.

“A lot’s been said about our youth, but there’s a lot of mature people out here that think deeply about their footy.

“So, we’ve spent a lot of time asking them what they want and what they need and trying to develop a program that delivers as much of that as we can.”

The Cats will have a fortnight away from the club before returning on January 5 – four weeks before their historic meeting with Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on February 2.

Hood says the players will be expected to continue the momentum they’ve started to build during their break.

“It’s a real opportunity to continue to grow through that period; the girls are acutely aware of that,” he said.

“And that’s the beauty of having players in the squad like Mel (Hickey), Aasta (O’Connor) and Rocky (Cranston), and Phoebe (McWilliams) and Hayley Trevean and Kate Darby, who have been through all of this before and understand the gains you can make in this period away from the club.”

Hood is confident he will have close to a full squad to pick from for the meeting with the Magpies, with captain Hickey expected to time her return from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament perfectly.

“We’ll try and time her to the minute, Melbourne Cup-style, to get her right for Round 1,” Hood said. “She’s really keen to be there.

“Maddy McMahon and Erin (Hoare) are doing their bit off to the side but progressing really well.

“And Jordan Ivey’s back in full training now.

“A lot of things are starting to come together really well for us.”

The downside of a fit list is having to tell up to nine players they won’t be playing against Collingwood.

“Myself and (assistant coach) Natalie Wood and (operations manager) Benny Waller have been throwing teams around for months now, and we still can’t decide what it’s going to look like, and that’s a great thing,” Hood said.

“That’s why you do all this training in the pre-season; one pops up one week and other pops up next week, and they’re great selection headaches to have.”

Twitter: @tom_king79