Ditching fast food the secret to Crow's incredible rise

THE REMARKABLE transformation of Adelaide's Anne Hatchard from a defender who would occasionally go forward, to a no-nonsense, hard-working midfielder is one of the stories of the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s season.

And the 20-year-old's secret? Ditching fast food.

"I have cut down on fast foods and it has shown how much it can make a difference," Hatchard told womens.afl.

"I worked really hard before pre-season to get my body ready pre-season training and changed my diet completely. I just feel a lot better with my body after having worked so hard.

"Our dietician gave me some different plans to follow, which has helped a lot."

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Hatchard's go-to dinner now is "chicken, rice and a bit of vegies" and she also enjoys other easy-to cook meals.

The results are plain to see.

Hatchard is averaging 22.75 disposals per game – up from 7.5 last year – and she is tied for ninth in the AFLCA AFLW Champion Player of the Year award.

The change in diet went hand-in-hand with her following an off-season program laid out by the Crows that featured a mix of interval and middle-distance running.

"I knocked at least 30 seconds off my 2km time trial and my Yo-Yo (endurance test) improved quite a lot, at least one level," she said.

"I have definitely improved my aerobic capacity compared to last year.

"When I came back and they saw me doing a bit better in the running, they're like, 'We might be able to put you through the midfield'."

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Hatchard has worked closely with experienced duo Erin Phillips and Renee Forth on her midfield craft.

She's also played a pivotal role in the Crows' moving the ball more by hand, averaging 14.5 handballs per game, winning ground-ball contests and feeding the ball to the team's speedsters on the outside.

"We've brought handballing into our game a lot more compared to previous seasons," she said.

"We're really big on our ground balls."

The in-form Crows – who have won their past three games – face another tough test when they take on unbeaten North Melbourne in Werribee, south-west of Melbourne, on Sunday afternoon, a showdown between the top two sides in Conference A.

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