THIS weekend marks the beginning of the 2019 VFLW season for the Casey Demons.
But for Georgia McLean and the rest of the team, the anticipation for this weekend has been almost six months in the making.
“It is really exciting to take the field this weekend, we started training in November,” McLean told Melbourne Media.
“It has been a long slog, so it will be good to pull on the boots for a proper game.
“Hopefully we can get a win on the board for Round 1.”
As the Casey Demons club embarks on our second season of women’s football, McLean has been with the team since day one and is excited to see the growth in the side for the 2019 campaign.
“Being a new team last year, it was open to interpretation about how we could create the culture and create the vibe amongst the group,” McLean said.
“Having new girls from all walks of life coming together.
“But this season, the original girls are taking more of a leadership role, and we have welcomed a fresh new group of girls too.
“It is exciting seeing our development and our growth from last year.”
With a mixture of Melbourne AFLW-listed players, returning VFL players, and welcoming new recruits, head coach Damien Keeping’s side have banded under the motto of ‘stronger together’.
A motto McLean believes the team has rallied behind.
“We are very big on the tagline, ‘stronger together’, and playing a team sport that should always be front of mind,” McLean said.
“We have a lot of talented girls in the team, but unless we are working together and playing for each other, the motto means nothing on paper.
“So, going out there and taking that stance of being stronger together, means celebrating those individual wins, but also celebrating those one-percenters that get us a team win.”
The mantra appears to already be yielding positive results.
In the final pre-season practice match, an inexperienced Demons side was able to rally in the last quarter to overcome a deficit to defeat Hawthorn, last year’s VFLW premiers
A confidence building win against an experienced opponent which McLean believes will do wonders for the young squad.
“The girls didn’t carry the weight of expectations on them,” McLean said.
“We told them it was okay to make mistakes but to learn from those mistakes.
“Reviewing the footage, and reviewing how the team game plan went, it gave the girls a lot of confidence and momentum towards Round 1.”
McLean sounds like a natural leader.
The 26-year-old is one of the most experienced players in the team being recruited from Women’s football powerhouse club, the Eastern Devils.
“We had quite a strong team at the Devils, being able to win a premiership in 2017,” McLean said.
“The Devils club means a lot to me and they were a super bunch of girls.
“It was a good base for me, it gave me good learnings and access to good coaches… Now I want to do the same for Casey.”
After trading a Devil’s pitchfork for Demon horns, McLean is ready to take the next step in her footballing career, having a great season and becoming more of a leader on the field.
“I want to have a solid season, getting selected week by week, and stamp some authority on my position,” McLean said.
“I want to work on being more of a leader this year.
“Leading the younger girls and giving as much as my time as I can to help teach them and help them on their own football journeys.”
Away from the field, McLean works as a police officer and believes this work has been beneficial to her on the field.
“My work has helped with my communication on the field, being clear and concise with my directions,” McLean said.
“It has also helped with my leadership, being able to give me more confidence to have more of a leadership role at the club.”
Look all good leaders, McLean plays with a passion on the weekend.
But also pursues her passion for a good brunch on her off-days, usually with her rescued border collie Abbey in tow.
“Definitely love going to brunch, sit at the café, have my smashed avo and my almond latte,” McLean said laughingly.
“But it’s good to wind down, catch up with mates, it is a nice vibe.”
The relaxation lets McLean clear her mind and provides a focus towards achieving her personal goals for the season ahead.
“I am hoping to see some good development this year, I want to see where that takes me,” McLean said.
“The real focus is to get my skills right and forge a good career here at Casey.
“Hopefully we have some success on the field.”
With players like Georgia McLean on our side, Casey Demons VFLW side looks poised for success on the not too distant horizon.