Talented writer and AFLW star Phoebe McWilliams' weekly player diary.

Déjà vu - Déjà vu is the feeling that you have already experienced the things that are happening to you now.

Waking up last Friday to the news of a potential lockdown, I was immediately transported back to Round 6 of 2020.

A Friday night home game was looming, it was the last AFLW match with crowds and there was a feeling of uncertainty about what was to come next.

But instead of it being Friday March 13, 2020, this time it was Friday February 12, 2021 and instead of playing North Melbourne, this time we were playing the Western Bulldogs.

Many media outlets picked up on this coincidence and I can tell you that as a player they were right. That's exactly what I was thinking about - that Friday night game last season.

It was an eerie feeling. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 06: Phoebe McWilliams of the Cats gets to the ball ahead of Lauren Butler of the Magpies during the round two AFLW match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at Victoria Park on February 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

I had many thoughts across the day, but by the time I arrived to GMHBA Stadium, I only had one thing in mind - beating the Western Bulldogs.

It showed me how resilient we, as a team and as a state, have become. 

Last year on Friday the 13th the uncertainty of what was to come next really threw me and I’m sure it unsettled a lot of my teammates.

This year we put all those feelings behind us and played a good game of footy. 

That’s something we should all be proud of.

Determination - Determination is the quality that you show when you have decided to do something and you will not let anything stop you.

Nicole Garner has been on our list for a year and a half now and she is easily one of the most hard-working, resilient and determined individuals I’ve met. 

She trains with intensity, always has a positive attitude and is constantly looking to improve. 

The coaches joked last week that she is relentless in asking them for feedback, even when there is no feedback left to give.

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Garner gets her guernsey

Nicole Garner is presented with her Debut Guernsey by Georgie Rankin. Presented by Ford.

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I remember last year I arrived at one of our 8am Saturday morning trainings out at Deakin University. 

Saturday mornings are a bit of a rude awakening for the players who live in Melbourne. It means at least a 6am alarm in order to get breakfast in before the hour and a quarter drive to Geelong.

I arrived bleary-eyed and sleepy to Deakin and noticed Nicole Garner was already on the oval training. 

Nicole also lives in Melbourne, so who knows what time her alarm had sounded that morning! 

She had arranged to meet the midfield coach prior to our session to work on her craft. 

Whilst the rest of us were sleeping, Nicole was on the track determined to learn and get better.

This is only one example. I’m sure there are dozens of others I don’t know about. 

When Hoody announced that Nicole was going to pull on the hoops for the first time last week, the cheers from her teammates were some of the loudest I’ve heard for a debutant.

Well done Nicole, your hard work paid off. Hopefully there are many more games to come for you.

Opportunity - An opportunity is a situation in which it is possible for you to do something that you want to do.

Looking back on our edits from last week’s game against the Bulldogs I was surprised by how many opportunities we had.

Opportunities to run and carry. Opportunities to take the ball aggressively through the middle. Opportunities to score.

Seeing how close we are to capitalising on these opportunities fills me with hope that our first win is just around the corner.

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McWilliams sneaks one through

Great roving off pack & good finish sees McWilliams register Geelong's first

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These edits are so important as they show us what we are doing right and how we can fix things to make them even better.

We will go into this week’s game with those edits in our minds. 

I feel confident that we can execute these opportunities, turn them into scores and eventually our first win. 

And how exciting that first win will be.