Good work, Marnie.
ONE OF US.
Hawthorn and Essendon coaches are hoping their rivalry clash will become a permanent opening-round fixture in the AFLW calendar after a successful inaugural meeting last year.
Hawks coach Bec Goddard said she wants the women’s teams to harness the rivalry she grew up understanding.
Essendon’s Steph Cain is chased by Hawthorn’s Tahlia Fellows in last year’s opener.CREDIT: AFL PHOTOS
“I grew up a Hawthorn supporter. I remember some of those really fierce moments … I just grew up knowing that rivalry,” said Goddard.
“So I look forward to popping back to Bunnings on Saturday morning, getting another bag of sand for the front of the change rooms [referencing the infamous ‘line in the sand’ match between Hawthorn and Essendon in 2004] and hopefully get the girls into that theatre of the sport of the rivalry.”
Last year, their meeting was moved to Marvel after a push from both coaches, with over 12,000 fans turning out. This Saturday, their first-round clash will be played at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston.
Goddard said while it was great to play at Marvel, they are hoping to build a home-ground advantage and “fortress” down in Frankston.
“Women’s sport is measured by the metric of people coming through the gates, and so I know the Hawks fans are going to come out in big numbers this weekend,” said Goddard.
“And hopefully we fill that stadium because it’s going to be a really great contest, and a great opportunity to see women doing their best.”
Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard addresses players at Marvel Stadium in round one last year.CREDIT: AFL PHOTOS
This season is the first each side, which came in as an expansion side last year, had a full pre-season leading into the season.
While Bombers coach Natalie Wood said this helps build connection with players, it also means the battle with Hawthorn will not only feature heat this time, but also more of each’s brand of footy going head-to-head.
“Both teams really stepped up to that mark [last year],” said Wood.
“For two teams playing their first game, I thought it was a game of a lot of high skill, high intensity work … They really stepped straight into that, that mode of wanting to have an arch rival.”
The season is to start without a new signed collective bargaining agreement. Players and the players’ association wanting a longer season, building to each team playing each other once, continues to be a sticky point in negotiations.
Goddard said while she appreciates the AFL and the union are working hard to get that deal done, she will approach the current season as a “mini World Cup”.
“You drop the first couple, then you’re going to be out. So, we certainly prepare and approach it almost like it’s sort of a longer final series,” said Goddard.
Hawthorn host Essendon in round one of the AFLW 2023 season at Kinetic Stadium on Saturday, September 2 at 7.15pm.