Nelson ready to hit the ground running

GROWTH is the word to describe Phoebe Nelson‘s preseason, in more ways than one. The Northern Knights running machine has shot up to 180cm and has been making strides in her skill development.

On top of that, the winger showcased her strong endurance base at the NAB League Girls testing event with a team-best yo-yo test result. After a quick turnaround from season 2021, she says it’s “great to (be) back” in the Knights’ environment.

“I’ve loved getting back into it after lockdown, where you can’t really do anything,” Nelson said. “It’s been really good. All of the club – the girls, coaches, everybody is so supportive. It’s a great environment to be developing my skills.

“I’m looking to improve my kicking efficiency a bit going into next season. I’ve already improved a lot over the last few weeks and nights in preseason, so I’m looking to do that even further through the summer.”

Nelson debuted in 2020 and played six games last year, cementing her spot on a wing. It’s there where the 17-year-old has been able to use her ‘superpowers’ – as coach Leigh Clarke would coin – a fantastic running capacity and positional awareness.

“I think I’m pretty good at positioning,” Nelson said. “When I started off as a winger I wasn’t sure where to go but throughout (the last two years) I’ve developed in that position and I think that’s been good for me.

“I love the physicality of footy. You just run all day, you’ve got the bumps, tackles and everything. I really like playing wing because I’m a bit of a runner, I like to keep going all match.”

Phoebe Nelson runs with the ball

Northern Knights talent operations lead Nat Grindal echoed the sentiment, praising Nelson for her work in one of the tougher positions to play.

“The wing’s a really difficult role,” Grindal said. “(Nelson) is one who really understood it and positionally was always in the right spots, so I think she’s one that would be on people’s radars, most definitely.”

Nelson, a Fitzroy junior, missed out on selection in this year’s Vic Metro hub, but has an early season audition of sorts to secure a spot with good NAB League form. She says she will take the new season “as it comes”, but has a couple of handy role models in new assistant coaches, Gabby Newton and Maddy Guerin to feed off throughout.

“It’s been really great having a couple of the girls who have already gone through the program,” she said. “I feel like they really know how we learn best and it’s been great.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments