The GIANTS’ AFL Women’s squad has kickstarted its 2020 pre-season preparations with a three-day camp in Narrabeen.
Although they have already completed two training sessions and a two-kilometre time trial, the GIANTS spent the weekend training and bonding at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation.
Friday saw the GIANTS arrive at the campgrounds north of Sydney and complete a gym session before engaging in group activities.
“We did a bit of gym and on-field stuff which was just like your regular training, but the rest of the camp was hanging out and getting to know each other,” GIANTS reigning club champion Rebecca Beeson said.
“We got to the beach and did a few values sessions as well, but it wasn’t really a camp where we were flogged in training, it was a chance to get to know each other more and integrate the new girls into who we are as a team.”
Saturday’s main training session saw the GIANTS warm up alongside the NSW/ACT Under-18 Youth Girls’ squad before they completed a two-hour session filled with skill drills and running.
A number of information seminars followed – including a briefing from the club nutritionist – before important team bonding sessions rounded out the day.
“I think we have the right personnel here and if you just look at our team sheet, we have the right list of players to be super competitive in the competition, and probably the connection between everyone has been not quite there which explains our performances particularly last year," Beeson said.
“Having the camp this year will help us go a long way to connecting on the field, just because we understand one another better.
“I think it (the camp) achieved its purpose in getting everyone relaxed and not thinking about footy and everyone getting to know each other.
“Getting that opportunity to connect with girls you wouldn’t have hung out with if you had of just rocked up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday on a regular training schedule.”
Sunday saw the GIANTS continue with their team-building activities as the squad and a couple of assistant coaches hit the water for a two-hour kayaking session.
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Beeson said it was the highlight of the camp as a number of GIANTS were forced out of their comfort zone.
“It was a bit cold and cloudy, so at the start people weren’t too keen to do it,” she said with a laugh.
“It ended up being the best part of the camp. We paddled about 100 metres out into the river and we had to build a stack of kayaks on the water without anyone falling in.
“We did a few races where people had to run along the boats and a few people ended up falling in.
“One of our new girls, Maggie (Gorham), took three goes to get it and a couple of coaches had a good crack and it was all a good laugh.
“It summarised the culture that we wanted to create here and summarised what the camp was all about.”
While the GIANTS have only completed three training session together, Beeson has been impressed by a few of her teammates.
“Everyone’s looking mean and fit this year and that’s testament to our strength and conditioning program led by Simone Freeman,” she said.
“Alyce Parker is looking really good at the moment; her fitness has improved a lot compared to this time last year and her skills are up there amongst the elite.
“She’s in for a really good crack this year and Haneen (Zreika) too.
“Haneen showed us what she’s capable of with her performance in the last round of season 2019 where I think she was best on ground by a good stretch.
“If she can carry that form into next year, then we can have a really potent midfield.
“Rebecca Privitelli, who has been in and out of the team for the past couple of years, is looking ready to go so I think she’ll be good for us as a key leading forward which is something that we lacked last year."
The GIANTS will continue their pre-holidays pre-season training across the next three weeks before taking a break across the Christmas and New Year period.