Adelaide got its AFLW campaign off to the perfect start with a dominant victory over reigning premiers Brisbane.
However, the win was mainly a clear indication of how the Crows want to play footy this season according to star Anne Hatchard.
“The way we came out in that game I was super impressed…we were just playing our crows footy,” she told The Crowject Podcast.
The midfielder, who’s improvement in form and fitness over the last two seasons has been well documented, dominated the midfield in in the second half of the game.
Joined by former best and fairest winner Ebony Marinoff (23 possessions) Hatchard led the Crows to an impressive 30-point win over the Lions, keeping them goalless until late in the final quarter.
This was despite a torrid first half of footy, characterised by stoppage football and a lack of rhythm.
“It was a tight, really contested game. We started off a bit sloppy, I think we were probably going in a bit nervous, first game of the season, but once we settled those nerves… especially after the second half we just came out firing,” she said.
A sloppy first half was probably to be expected after a disjointed preseason.
While it is fair to say that the Adelaide team has had a slightly luckier run than others in regard to COVID-19, its practice match against GWS was cancelled at late notice, and its first round match was completely rescheduled due to the recent increase in cases.
Despite this, Hatchard believes their preseason was a productive one.
“The girls just took it as it came and we did all we could through those times and we still had a really solid preseason and it’s really showing now,” she said.
On her own impressive game, Hatchard was humble as always, highlighting the contribution of the midfield group.
“I just went out their and wanted to play my role… we have a really solid mids group in there and we just gelled really well together.”
Despite some “little niggles” through the offseason, Hatchard has continued to improve on her game.
After slimming down, building her fitness and moving into a dominant midfield role, she now aims to add overhead marking to her list of skills.
“I really wanted to get more solid at that after getting my fitness up…it’s been a bit hard, but I’ve got my body in a good place now,” she said.
The ever-humble Hatchard was quick to highlight however that she dropped a sitter during the game which sticks in her mind, demonstrating her drive to improve all round.
Aiding her in this quest is Phil Harper, GM of Football Operations at the club turned part time marking coach.
“We used to just go out and he’d throw it up to me about a hundred times…he just wants me to keep getting better,” she said.
Hatchard isn’t the only Crows woman’s player to show strong improvement in the off seasons. Discussing what teammates impressed her, Hatchard was keen to highlight the game pocket rocket Rachelle Martin.
“She’s a little bulldog… she goes hard at every contest, so I think she’s going to be really sold for us throughout the year,” she said.
For the full interview and discussion of the round one match, and for future news and analysis of the AFLW season, tune into The Crowject Podcast, available on all good podcasting apps.