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AFLW: Talent Academy kicks off

Fremantle have launched their first Female Talent Academy on Thursday night. Fremantle launched their first Female Talent Academy on Thursday night to help grow the game.

Fremantle’s preparations for the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s season are underway with the launch of the Fremantle Dockers Women’s Talent Academy on Thursday night at Victor George Kailis Oval.

The academy consists of Fremantle’s 20 signed AFLW players as well as a further 23 unsigned players and is run under the watchful eye of senior NAB AFL Women’s coach Trent Cooper and his coaching staff.

Former Fremantle AFLW player Amy Lavell and Lisa Webb, who is taking the 2019 playing season off, form a part of the coaching group.

Current AFL players Brady Grey, David Mundy, Danyle Pearce, Michael Johnson and Nathan Wilson will also be involved with the weekly sessions when available.

Cooper stressed that it was imperative for the Fremantle playing group to continue to develop year on year.

“I think AFLW is the quickest improving sport in the world at the moment, as they’ve come from not a lot into this boom in women’s football,” Cooper said.

“So if we improve 15 per cent, it will probably just leave us where we are. 

“We have to be aiming to get above the curve and improve more than that, so this is our first opportunity to come together and start that improvement.”

Fremantle forward Ashley Sharp

To account for the players’ WAWFL commitments, the sessions will start out with a light workload and focus on skills and injury prevention. 

Cooper added the sessions are just as important for the unsigned players, who could work their way onto the Fremantle AFLW list. 

“It’s a good chance for our 20 signed players to come together in the offseason and train and it’s also a great opportunity for us to work with the other 23 academy invites,” Cooper said. 

“They’ll train with us to be exposed to a high performance level and we’ll probably choose six to nine of those girls to play on our list next year.”

The night marked the first training session run at Fremantle by Cooper, who signed on as Fremantle’s new AFLW coach in June, replacing inaugural coach Michelle Cowan.

“It’s been full on and it’s been great,” Cooper said.

“Everyone’s been really supportive and there’s been a lot to jump into with the academy starting so quickly.

“It’s been a really enjoyable time and I’ve enjoyed every day.”

Cooper will continue in his role as the WA State 18s coach with the WAFC and will head to the NAB AFLW U18 Championships with the team next week.

WA’s first game is on Monday 9 July against Vic Metro.

“We fly out tomorrow to the Gold Coast,” Cooper said.

“We play three games, Vic Metro, Vic Country and the Allies. I’m looking forward to that and again, I’d imagine a few of those girls will end up on an AFLW list and, hopefully ours, in the very near future.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs