There were plenty of smiling faces at GMHBA Stadium last week as Geelong’s AFLW team officially launched their pre-season campaign.

Coach Paul Hood is excited to be back and plans to use this period to build synergy, work on skill development and integrate Geelong’s five new draftees as best as they can.

“It’s is marvellous for us to be back at GMHBA Stadium training in what is a fantastic facility,” Hood said speaking to Cats Media.

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AFLW is back

Hear from AFLW head coach Paul Hood as he gives us an update on pre-season training. Presented by Ford.

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“I think the main focus pre-Christmas is building synergy again after some considerable time apart and for us putting in place some of that skill development work that we have done over the winter.

“Integrating our five draftees of course and making sure they feel comfortable and understand their teammates as best they can.”

Hood has been impressed by the growth of the game in recent seasons.

Last year teams shifted the ball quicker in transition and that will be something the team will look to work on this pre-season.

“I think AFLW has developed really quickly and you could see last year.

“Teams are really successful at moving the ball quickly once they got out into the open, but for us we will be looking to move the ball away from congestion and into space as best as we can and obviously making it difficult for the other team to do that while we are defending.”

Former captain Melissa Hickey called time on her AFLW career at the end of last season and Hood believes it will be a great opportunity for other players to step up and fill the void.

“Melissa’s leadership is going to be a bit loss to the team.

“She was a fantastic captain for us, but it is a great opportunity for a number of players to step up.

“We are in a great position with a lot of people that have great leadership qualities.”