Geelong’s AFLW leadership group, from left, Aasta O'Connor, Anna Teague, Melissa Hickey (Captain), Rebecca Goring (Vice Captain), Renee Garing and Richelle Cranston. Pic: Glenn Ferguson
Geelong’s AFLW leadership group, from left, Aasta O'Connor, Anna Teague, Melissa Hickey (Captain), Rebecca Goring (Vice Captain), Renee Garing and Richelle Cranston. Pic: Glenn Ferguson

Cats shape as flag threat, says star recruit O’Connor

WESTERN Bulldogs premiership ruck and Geelong recruit Aasta O'Connor says she believes her new team shows all of the hallmarks of a side that is capable of sustained success in the AFLW.

The Sunshine Coast product, who was recently included in the Cats leadership group for their inaugural AFLW season in 2019, is one of the most decorated footballers the women's game has produced, winning four premierships at both Darebin Falcons in the VWFL and for Logan in Queensland.

The veteran was brought to Geelong in May alongside former Darebin teammate Mel Hickey and said the even nature of the squad that has been assembled at GMHBA Stadium had her confident that the Cats would be more than competitive both next year and beyond.

"I have been privileged to be in some fantastic teams and the common thread in good teams is how even the spread is, and that's what I see at Geelong," O'Connor said.

"That is what I see that we are building, is the evenness of our group. Whether it be the running power of the group - and everyone can run - or the way we prepare, the way the coaches challenge us or the way they support us, it is an even spread.

"It is a personal opinion but I think that is a real quality of successful teams and not just for one or two years, but to build successful eras, and that is what I see at the Cats."

Aasta O'Connor, Richelle Rocky Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Bec Goring, Renee Garing and Anna Teague pose during the Geelong Cats AFLW leadership announcement. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Aasta O'Connor, Richelle Rocky Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Bec Goring, Renee Garing and Anna Teague pose during the Geelong Cats AFLW leadership announcement. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

O'Connor will miss the final week of training with the Cats before Christmas while she heads up the AFL women's academy camp in Canberra, but she has a tailored program she will work to during the break to ensure she maintains her strength and conditioning before pre-season resumes in January.

The 31-year-old is yet to go into detail with coach Paul Hood about what her role will look like for Geelong next year, but she said the move to the Cats had come at the perfect time.

"I am just loving it, and without even realising it, it has been exactly what I needed," O'Connor said.

"I feel really energised and the way in which everybody at the club has come together for the AFLW program, it is fantastic to be a part of.

"You know you are part of something pretty special when you walk through the club and even around the town, the different people you meet at the beach or heading out for lunch, you know the Geelong Cats are really ingrained in the community."

News Corp Australia


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