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A race to AFLW start line

Tom Fee  November 21, 2017 9:15 PM

Senior coach Michelle Cowan speaks to media ahead of Freo's training session on Tuesday.

Senior AFLW coach Michelle Cowan says her players are ready for an intense pre-season with Freo’s round one clash against the Western Bulldogs just over two months away. 

The squad also has 60 days to get game ready for Freo’s pre-season clash against Adelaide in Darwin on 20 January.

Tuesday night's training session ends a long off-season for the side, with most players competing for their respective clubs in the WAWFL and coming together for the first time since their final game of the 2017 season on 17 March.

“I’m really looking forward to tonight and it’s straight to work for the girls,” Cowan said.

“They’ll have a 2km time trial straight away. We’ve had a pretty thorough induction process and they’re really keen to get started.”

Despite 295 days between the end of season 2017 and the commencement of pre-season, Cowan says her coaching staff and sports science team have worked closely to ensure continued development during the off-season.

“We’re really happy with how everyone has returned,” Cowan said.

“Our high performance team has worked really closely with the girls throughout their WAWFL season and then in their off-season, to make sure that they’ve prepared themselves really well for day one.

“We’ve got such a short pre-season, we’re 60 days from our pre-season game, so it’s really important that they do turn up in good shape and are ready to go straight away.”

After one win and a draw from seven games in the inaugural season, Cowan expects to see a lot of improvement from some tough lessons learned.

“A real positive for us is that when you do lose your games you really look at what your program is and you thoroughly look into what you’re doing,” Cowan said.

“There was so much growth and learning in our off-season phase. We’re really committed to the way that we want to play and we’ll tweak that in a number of ways and get to work.

“There’s a lot of hard work to do and we’ve got 60 days to make sure we get that right.” 

Fremantle can already expect improvement with the addition of a number of exciting recruits, including Kellie Gibson from Adelaide and Alex Williams from GWS, as well as the long-awaited debut of star midfielder Kiara Bowers, who missed the inaugural season due to an ACL injury.

Both Bowers and Gibson were classified as marquee players in the inaugural AFLW season and will boost the line-up headed by captain Kara Donnellan.

“Tonight is Kiara’s first training session for the club, coming off an injury,” Cowan said.

"She’s an elite midfielder and an elite kick. She’ll go through and support in our forwardline or even run through the midfield as well.

“She’s worked really hard in her rehab and her recovery from that injury. The heart and the character she’s shown, she’s just an exceptional person who’s worked really hard.

“I know she’ll be really proud to pull on the jumper and the girls will certainly get around her, it’s an exciting time.”