Becky Webster couldn’t have had a worse start to her 2020 campaign.
The 19-year-old injured herself just days out from the official start of pre-season in unusual circumstances.
“I went to put the rubbish out and I whacked my toe on the car coming back,” said Webster.
“I thought I’d just stubbed it, but when I came in to do a (skills) session with Hoody (senior AFLW coach Paul Hood), I was running and I was like this actually is pretty painful.
“So I got a scan on it and it turned out I had a broken toe.”
Webster’s broken toe kept her out of main training until the Christmas break.
Returning in the new year, Wester picked up where she had left off in the VFLW season, dominating her new role in the midfield.
Following the 2019 AFLW season Geelong’s coaches Natalie Wood and Paul Hood decided to move Webster from the backline into the midfield during the winter.
“Nat and Hoody said, ‘We’re going to put you through the midfield in the VFLW and develop you and your strengths to be able to burst through packs.’”
“I think they were expecting me to probably have spurts throughout the season in the midfield but I just ended up staying there.”
Wester proved to be a natural.
In what was meant to be a development season, the youngster from Benalla came away winning the club’s best and fairest.
“It was good to have a solid VFLW season and get a lot of midfield experience under my belt coming into the AFLW, I felt a lot more confident.”
This year, in her second season, Webster noticed an increase in intensity from the VFLW to the AFLW.
“The level just stepped up in AFLW, the communication around the ball and obviously the structures.
“The main focuses were pretty similar, but yeah it was more of a step up.”
Webster found playing alongside experienced teammate Aasta O’Connor particularly helpful.
O’Connor missed last year’s VFLW season through injury, meaning this AFLW season was the first opportunity the two had to play together in the midfield.
“She (O’Connor) was like another coach out there.
“Just around the ball having her communication there and making sure we were all accountable was awesome.
“Like I said she was just like having another coach out on the field, which was great.”
In 2020 Webster played every game in the Cats midfield averaging 13 disposals.
Her best game came in Round 1 against Fremantle where she had 21 touches and a game-high seven marks.
Though Webster has found quick success in her new role, she knows that there is still plenty to learn.
“Obviously playing a bit more in the midfield I’ll be able to develop those skills to read the ball a lot more.
“Also if I’m not impacting the contest, I need to learn where I am meant to be and where should I be heading.
“So just practicing those running patterns and those sort of things as well as keeping up my fitness coming into the pre-season.”
Webster has achieved a lot with her limited midfield experience.
Who knows what she can achieve with another 12 months under her belt.