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It's a whole new world for AFLW

Tom Fee  October 25, 2016 6:01 PM

The ETAF visit was the first time the girls have been together as a team.

The ETAF visit was the first time the girls have been together as a team.

As the Fremantle Dockers AFLW team gathered for the first time to tour the club’s new primary training base at Cockburn Central West, the players’ expressions ran from joy and amazement to stunned disbelief.

The facility allows all team members access to a vast majority of the 24,000 square metre site, with approximately 6,500 square metres exclusive to the club while much of the remaining space is shared between the club and the public.

It’s safe to say, with access to a site that is approximately four times bigger than the AFL’s nearest rival, that Fremantle is setting the bar high when it comes to giving their players the best chance to reach full potential.

Kelly Clinch, slated to start in the ruck for Fremantle in the inaugural AFLW season, couldn’t agree more.

“It’s amazing, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” beamed Clinch at the tour’s conclusion.

“It’s state-of-the-art. The gym facilities look amazing and the running track’s pretty impressive. Everything from the change rooms to the kitchen facilities, admin and the fact that it incorporates the community in the swimming and fitness areas is great.”

At the new facility in Cockburn, the women’s team will have access to equipment and facilities that other AFL teams can only dream of, including hot and cold active recovery pools, to the best in medical and conditioning facilities.

The facility also has the capacity to host future AFLW games from 2018 onwards, with a dedicated locker room for the women’s team as well as an extra changeroom for the away team.

“You could almost say that you can ‘feel the love’,” said Clinch.

“When you go through the place you can tell Fremantle’s taken the women’s team into consideration here and it’s not just an afterthought. It makes a statement that we’re here and definitely a part of the club and culture alongside the men’s team.”

For women’s senior coach Michelle Cowan, there was no better place to bring the team together for the first time.

“It’s getting easier to get used to but every time I come here it blows my mind,” Cowan said.

“It was great to get everyone together. They’re certainly excited and we’ll need to harness that excitement and bottle it up. They’ve got a big pre-season ahead of them and everything we’re doing is looking towards February and round one.

“They’re keen to take their game to that whole new level and when you surround them in an environment that can assist them to do that, it’ll be really good for them.”