Rested Roo keen to leave 2022 frustrations behind

NORTH Melbourne skipper Emma Kearney comes into her eighth AFLW season off a very different offseason, but is still excited as ever to go again in 2023.

Kearney certainly enjoyed having no footy over summer for the first time since 2016.

“It’s always good having a summer off” Kearney said.

“It was actually for the first time in a long time we’ve been actually able to go away and enjoy Christmas break which was really refreshing and get a proper chance to have time away from footy. So that’s been good, and then I guess with preseason we’ve started doing a day training session, and the differences a day training session as opposed to all at night has been awesome for us. It just means we can get our recovery, it means our sleep is better and we can just spend more time on game education but also on the track.”

She also said that this preseason had gone well for her.

“Body’s feeling good, mind is feeling fresh,” she said. “Now games are ramping up I’m really just looking forward to the season ahead.”

Reflecting upon last year, Kearney confessed that Season 7 ended in a very frustrating manner for her Kangaroos, after they lost the Preliminary Final to eventual Premiers Melbourne.

“It was frustrating,” she said. “I suppose we know that our best footy is good enough to match it with the rest. I reckon we had chances against Melbourne in the Prelim where we could have tried to get a lead at three quarter time but we sort of butchered our chances with our inside 50s.

“I think going away from that game it’s given the group a lot of confidence and belief that we do belong at the top and we just need to keep playing our best footy. We’ve certainly made tinkers to our game plan that will mean we will have a bit more of an attacking style of footy and be able to hopefully defend the ground better and prevent those really good sides from scoring against us.”

For Kearney all that North need to do to go even further in 2023 is something pretty simple, and certainly believes the new faces in the side this season will make a difference.

“It’s about being able to hit the scoreboard more often,” she said. “We get a lot of forward half territory in our game and we get a lot of forward half turnover which usually translates to scores but it doesn’t necessarily for us at the moment.

“So I think having the addition of Kate Shierlaw has given us a bit more of a forward target for us and then having a Lucinda Pullar or Eliza Shannon sort of propelling that ball outside our back half has really helped our ball movement, so certainly the new additions have made a huge difference for us.”

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