It has been a monster pre-season for Horsham’s Rene Caris and Ararat’s Georgia Clarke in their first summer with the Geelong Cats.
Since being drafted in October, the Wimmera duo have been thrown into an intense training program to get them ready for the upcoming AFLW season.
The two aren’t yet sure if they will make their debuts in the Cats’ opening match on Saturday night – the teams are released on Thursday evening – but both have a clear goal to earn the opportunity in their first season.
“Getting a game is obviously my main goal this season. I would absolutely love to get that chance,” Caris said.
“But it’s also just to keep getting better in the gym, listening to the coaches and taking everything on board.”
Caris has been working hard on her physical development as she prepares to compete against bigger bodies in senior football.
“I’m definitely one of the younger developing rucks, so they’re trying to get me to develop physically at the moment,” Caris said.
“Most of the other rucks are about 30 and I’m only 19. There’s a bit of work to do. It’s a lot of gym and the dietitian has been helping a lot as well.”
Caris said it had been a whirlwind couple of months since she was drafted to the Cats. She still commutes from Horsham to Geelong between training sessions.
“Training nearly every day and having to learn a whole new town, it’s been crazy,” Caris said.
“But it’s been really cool – just walking through the change rooms and you might see Joel Selwood or someone like that. Seeing these people that are your idols and being about to watch them go about it has been crazy.”
Fortunately for the Wimmera pair, there were a few familiar faces in the Cats AFLW squad to help ease the transition.
With Caris, Clarke and Ballarat’s Sophie Van De Huevel, Geelong drafted three players from the Greater Western Victoria Rebels with their first three picks in the 2018 draft.
Clarke said her junior teammates had certainly helped her adjust.
“Moving away from home was pretty daunting – not being able to see my family for too much of the time,” Clarke said.
“But I’ve felt pretty much at home once I’ve got here.
“It’s really great to have girls I’ve played with before on the team, especially knowing how they play.
“Having Rene in the ruck and then Sophie down forward – we all play different positions but we used to be able to find each other pretty well playing for the Rebels, so hopefully that can continue.”
The Geelong Cats get their season underway in their first ever AFLW match against Collingwood at 6.40pm on Saturday.