Hart excited by dangerous forward mix
(VFLW forward line coach Callum Hart addresses players at training).
Buoyed by evidence on the training track, VFLW assistant coach Callum Hart is eager to see what the side’s forward group can produce in season 2021.
Hart, who will look after the women’s forward line, singled out emerging star Tahlia Merrett and exciting recruit Asha Price as two eye-catchers since the team returned to training on January 4.
And with practice matches just around the corner - the first one slated for January 30 - Hart believes the duo can act as a one-two punch on opposition sides this season.
“The first practice match will be an opportunity to see new structures an opportunities for the likes of Tahlia Merrett who is usually found down back,” Hart said.
“I’m hoping to see her development as a key forward come through with her great running capacity and improving skillset, and I’d like to see her put a stamp on that centre half forward position.
“And Pricey (Asha Price), them working together in that forward line could be great for us, her leadership has been a standout in the last couple of weeks with training so I’m really looking forward to the next step.”
Merrett, 20, is a 174cm athletic key tall with nine VFLW games to her name after debuting in 2019 as a teenager.
(Exciting talent Tahlia Merrett in action in the side's first intra-club match of 2021).
Price signed with the Seagulls on the eve of the 2020 season as one of the most exciting new recruits at the club.
The 23-year-old powerful key forward joined from Melbourne Uni, where she booted six goals from three matches in 2019 and has taken just 10 VFLW games to slot 15 majors.
With training intensity ramping up and the new season now just around the corner, Hart said he has been impressed with the attitude shown by the group.
“They’re all really switched on right now and coming to training wanting to improve which is a great sign for us,” he said.
“We’re getting the girls right back into the swing of things after a year and a half off, it has been a bit challenging for some to get back up to the standards that we need to be so that’s been one of the big aims but they’ve all been hitting their personal targets and now it’s about getting the footy back in their hands and getting their skillsets back at the level it needs to be.”
The AFL announced in late 2020 the new VFLW season will this year run concurrently with the AFLW, meaning a late February start is on the cards - a far cry from the May start of seasons past.
But the most exciting part?
“We just get to play again,” Hart said.
“It felt like we were robbed of a season last year. We were making really good progress with our list development, building really good excitement and culture around the place and it’s felt like we were robbed of it a bit.
“That’s carried over now into this year so I’m looking forward to seeing how we can turn that on and hopefully get a few more wins, including those incremental victories that we’ll set for ourselves at the start of the year.”
The VFLW side will spend this weekend at a camp in Trafalgar, before preparing for their first practice match against Darebin on Saturday, January 30.
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