Around the clubs: Dee in doubt, Roo blow

THE THIRD season of the NAB AFL Women's competition starts on Saturday – here's the latest news from around the clubs. 

Setback for young Dee

Melbourne's first pick in the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft, Tyla Hanks, faces the possibly of a delayed start to the season as she deals with bone bruising in her knee.

The tough midfielder suffered the injury in the late stages of the Demons' practice match against VFLW affiliate Casey two weeks ago.

"We're thinking possibly round two, but if everything goes well then round one (remains an option)," Hanks told melbournefc.com.au.

"I'll start running and see how I go. If there's no pain, I'll keep progressing.

"Pretty much two bones hit together, but (there was) no muscle or ligament damage so that was the most important thing to hear."

Roos forward sidelined 

North Melbourne's Maddy Smith won't have a chance to make her AFLW debut until round six after dislocating her right patella (kneecap) at training.

Smith, recruited from Tasmanian State League Women's club Clarence, is about two weeks into an eight-week rehabilitation.

"Maddy is as tough as they come and while this is terribly disappointing for her and the team, we know she'll put everything into her rehab and will make a full recovery," Kangaroos' head of football operations Laura Kane said.

Newbies get a taste of the big time 

The teams' practice matches on January 19 were a chance for coaches to test game plans and get some kilometres into players' legs.

But it was also the first opportunity for many of the game's most recent graduates to AFLW to have a taste of playing at the top level.

Carlton midfielder and last year’s No.3 pick Maddy Prespakis was left feeling a bit sore and sorry for herself after her first run, a two-point loss to Geelong.

"I got a little bit of a feel for it last year in the VFLW (playing for Melbourne University), but it definitely wasn't as high an intensity or the quality that AFLW is," Prespakis told carltonfc.com.au.

"The practice match definitely opened my eyes. The speed of the game was a lot faster, and not just that, [the hits were from players] double my size.

"I copped a few bruises here and there, but it's all part of the game and it makes me excited. I was pretty sore the next day, a bit of a stiff neck from a few tackles."

Fremantle utility and life-long Dockers fan Sabreena Duffy was selected with the club's second pick, No.17 overall. 

"It was a dream come true to pull on the purple for the first time (against Adelaide), among quite a few new faces which was comforting with girls in the same boat. It was a real honour and I can't wait for the next hit-out," she told the club website.

"I felt the tackles more that's for sure. I got dumped on my head about three times, so I felt that. It was quite fast."

At 25, Geelong's Cassie Blakeway is a bit older than others who were playing their first game, but the experience against Carlton was similar.

"It was more intense. I feel like it was a bit cleaner than VFLW games (Blakeway played for Geelong’s VFLW team last winter). I haven't played AFLW games before, so that was a step up," she said.

Cassie Blakeway

Pies' lofty aims

Collingwood had significant player turnover during the off-season, with retirements, delistings and four players moving to expansion club North Melbourne.

The Magpies are slowly changing their age profile, from an average of 27.3 in 2017 to 24.7 this season. Vice-captain Emma Grant said despite the changes, the club had just one aim this season.

"We've got such a young, raw list and what (coach) Wayne (Siekman) and the coaching staff have been able to do with us has been really exciting. We just hope we can put it into practice," Grant told the club website.

"As far as expectations go for 2019, we're aiming for a premiership. We'll be disappointed with anything less.

"We just want to see improvement. In the first two years we won three games (each season), so we want to do better than that.

"But the premiership is our goal and we're going to do everything in our power to get that."

Playlist picks

It was the move of the off-season, and Emma Kearney wasn't going to let anyone forget it at North Melbourne's AFLW season launch last week.

Kearney had a stellar year with the Western Bulldogs in 2018, winning a premiership and being crowned the AFLW's best and fairest player, before moving to the Kangaroos last winter.

The Roos could choose a song each to play while receiving their jumper at the club's season launch, and Kearney's sense of humour shone through with Florence and the Machine's Dog Days Are Over featuring when she received the No.9 guernsey.

Other notable selections included both 'Jasmine Gs' choosing Miley Cyrus tunes; (Jasmine Garner went with The Climb and Jasmine Grierson picked Party in the USA), while Kaitlyn Ashmore went old school with a Suzi Quattro number.

The Bulldogs followed a similar path at their season launch. Highlights included:

Emma Mackie (and her newborn son), Go Bang, PNAU

Bailey Hunt, Jackie, B.Z featuing Joanne

Kate Bartlett, Thunderstruck, AC/DC

Hayley Wildes, the theme song from Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures

Naomi Ferres and Lauren Spark, This is Me from The Greatest Showman soundtrack

Footballer/basketballer, Monique Conti, Best of Both Worlds, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus 

Also unveiled at the Bulldogs' season launch were the team's new jumpers, complete with a gold AFL logo on the front and a gold AFLW logo on the back, denoting last year’s premiership.

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