The VFLW Tigers are back in action, after a successful opening training session on Wednesday afternoon at Punt Road Oval.
A mix of fresh and familiar faces, the girls were all smiles as they took to the track for the first time since August.
Coach Tom Hunter said the pre-Christmas training block provides a valuable opportunity to refine and build on what the side developed in their maiden season.
“We’ve identified areas we can continue to get better at but also build on our strengths from last year,” Hunter said.
“One of our biggest strengths is that the girls really value each other and are going to invest in each other throughout preseason and beyond.”
Hunter believes having their first VFLW season under their belt will make all the difference for the Tigers.
“We are so far ahead of where we were last year,” he said.
“We have players that know our standards and have a really good level of behaviours and standards that we want to bring. We can now continue to improve on what we had last year, we have a great foundation to build on."
Skipper Jess Kennedy was on the track doing light work alongside Lisa Davie and Sophie Damon, all three having undertaken post-season surgeries.
Hunter said the three are faring well in their recoveries.
“They all put in the hard work over the break and are ahead of where they need to be,” he said.
Most of the new players at the training session were identified at the club’s recent talent ID day.
Others, have been specifically handpicked as potential Tigers who will add value to the playing list on and off the field.
“We really targeted and were really specific about who we wanted to bring in our program,” Hunter said.
“We didn’t want to bring in 80 girls and whittle it down, we wanted to invest and develop the 45-50 that we will have for the preseason.”
In the opening team meeting, Hunter set the team with the important task of establishing their values for the season and what they want to be known for.
“From my end, it’s really important that they re-establish their own brand,” Hunter said.
“One thing that we will be is supported and connected as a group.”
Hunter also announced the exciting news that Tiger Lauren Tesoriero, who has recently taken on a recruiting role at the club, has also been appointed as the team’s midfield coach.
“She’s going to wear a few different hats this year. It’s great for her development to get a handle on different aspects of the game,” Hunter said.
“I think it’s going to be great. She is really respected within both the staff and playing group.”
Joining Tesoriero as new VFLW staff will be Steve Varley as an assistant coach, Liam Oliver as rehab coach, and Jo Foo as an additional physio.