Melissa Hickey will make her highly anticipated return for the Bendigo Bank Cats when they take the field to play Melbourne Uni at Deakin University on Saturday at 1pm.

The fierce competitor will play her first VFLW match in Cats colours after captaining the AFLW team in their inaugural campaign.

Her last outing at VFLW level came playing for Darebin in 2017 VFL Grand Final.

“I am super excited, and I must say I think I will be a little nervous, it has been a long time since I last played,” Hickey said.

The 34-year-old is excited to get out on the field and play with the team having watched on and been impressed by their growth this season.

“I have watched the development of so many of our young girls and a lot of the VFLW girls I haven’t played with, so I am super excited to get out there.”

With Melbourne Uni and Geelong currently sitting sixth and seventh respectively with only three rounds remaining, this match shapes as a crucial contest for both sides.

Following their 43-point win against NT Thunder last weekend, Hickey said this Saturday’s clash will be a ‘really good challenge’ for the team.

“I think Melbourne Uni are a couple above us on the ladder and with their North Melbourne relationship are a really strong side, so it will be awesome to play them at Deakin.

“It is going to be a bit of a wintery wet day and I think that might suit us and our contested type of game, so it is a really crucial game.”

Hickey said the key to success will be in finding a balance between shutting down their key players and focusing on their own game.

“They have got some really quality players, so respecting them and still just trying to work on what we have been doing.

“Against Thunder, that was probably our best performance for the year, so we want to keep doing that.

“I have been really proud of the pressure we have been able to apply teams, but also our precision and ability to move the ball as well, so just the same as last week.”

Paige Sheppard and Millie Brown will make their VFLW debuts for the Cats. Both players have come out of the NAB League Girls and represented Vic Country at the National Championships.

VFLW Round 14 Team

34. M Brown, 44. R Goring, 49. E Ramsay
3. A McDonald, 18. M Hickey, 28. D Taylor
9. T Love, 12. R Garing, 27. S Van De Heuvel
43. M Maguire, 2. D Orr, 11. J Woollett
42. B Beckley, 17. G Clarke, 36. L McEvoy
8. K Darby, 30. R Cranston, 21. R Webster
20. R Pearce, 16. O Purcell, 45. M Keryk, 7. R Benham, 31. P Sheppard

13. L Taylor, 23. H Rowe, 1. R Caris, 4. C Blakeway