Gaylor hopes to emulate Blackburn after big preseason

CALDER Cannons midfielder Amy Gaylor is a fan of the red, white and blue, and therefore it should be no surprise the tenacious midfielder emulates her game around Western Bulldogs skipper, Ellie Blackburn. The AFLW Academy member is a hard, but clean in-and-under player and is hoping to develop the outside hurt factor that separates Blackburn from many of her contested ball-winning peers.

“I am a Doggies supporter so a bit biased,” Gaylor said. “I think her contested work is really, really impressive, but she’s also got that outside where she can kick and hit targets as well so that’s where trying to build my game from.

“I’d say (my) strengths are probably contested work, clean hands, tackling, my athleticism as well. Weaknesses that I’ve been working on preseason is probably kicking, a bit of endurance as well, a bit more long distance running.”

The Vic Metro representative averaged 15.9 disposals, 1.6 marks, 2.1 inside 50s and 2.2 rebound 50s in the 2022 NAB League season. Perhaps most incredibly for the the 2005-born Gaylor was her 7.7 tackles laid per game, indicating her fierce desire at the coalface.

“Last year was my first year in the NAB League and now I’m used to the competition, it’s obviously a big step up from local footy,” Gaylor said. “Especially in Vic Metro as well, it’s been really good playing against the best competition to prepare me (for 2023).”

Gaylor is likely to resume her inside midfielder role in the newly-named 2023 Coates Talent League, but is still keen to add extra strings to her bow by playing off half-back. After experiencing a preseason with the Cannons for the first time in 2022, the natural leader said the one leading into 2023 was on another level.

“It’s been a big preseason compared to past years,” Gaylor said. “We’ve had three training sessions a week and it’s been incorporating a lot more running and gym work as well, so it’s been a good preseason.”

In between her work with the Cannons, Gaylor spent a weekend with the most talented young players across the country as part of the AFLW Academy. When asked what her big takeaways from the January camp was, Gaylor said the off-field knowledge. In particular, she learnt more about post-game recovery, and nutrition both pre and post-game, as well as throughout the week.

Her father has been the top-age talent’s number one mentor along the way, helping her develop her football and providing advice and support for her.

“He definitely thinks he knows more than he does, but he’s always there if I need to go for a kick, always after a game giving me advice so he’s been a good mentor for me,” Gaylor said.

Looking ahead to the season that kicks off next weekend, Gaylor’s goals for 2023 included to keep improving both on and off the field, and eventually land on an AFL Women’s list.

“Just being the best player I can be,” Gaylor said. “Just keep on improving. Also my leadership I’m looking to improve whether that be part of the leadership group at Cannons.”

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