Young Dog Newson keen to learn new tricks

SOUTH Fremantle recruit Kate Newson is looking forward to learning off the likes of Fremantle ruck Ariana Hetherington, after the former Peel Thunder tall opted to make a “lifestyle change” and move to the Bulldogs.

“I started basketball quite young, my whole family was in basketball so came up through that,” Newson said of her football journey.

“Then halfway through a local footy season someone needed a ruck so they said ‘you should come play’ so I did three games, then got taken through to Peel Rogers. Did a year at Rogers, did a couple of years League and now I’m playing for South Freo.”

Newson said the move over the off-season was more about the style of development she was looking for to further her ruck craft, and work around the ground. She said she was “really excited” to work alongside Hetherington in the lead-up to the season, and was hoping to become more of a “well-rounded player”.

“That’s a lot of the development I want to work on this year is definitely becoming more of a well-rounded player and be able to go wherever I’m needed,” Newson said. “I do love the ruck and playing through the midfield and working with my mids so it’s really enjoyable but I want to definitely become a more skilled and developed player to be able to go forward, or push into back and just fill spaces.”

Newson enters 2024 as one of the top-age players this year and will look to impart knowledge on the younger players as some of her predecessors did last season.

“It’s a bit daunting being like the older girls, having a lot of mentors last year like Anjo Raison last year and Mackenzie Webb was crazy last year,” Newson said.

“Having them as mentors and now being one of those mentors. A lot of girls are great, so it’s nice being able to take some girls through. The draft is a bit daunting, but looking forward to becoming a well-rounded player this year.”

The South Fremantle recruit rates her aggression as her main strength, while she is looking to improve her game education to “become a better player”.

“I think I bring a lot of strength to the role for my height as well,” Newson said. “I think just being a tall target and being able to be strong in my body as a tall.

“I came in pretty fresh … being able to have the education to know where to stand, play behind my player, in front of my player and what positions would be great to get this year.”

The Fremantle supporter models her game on Dockers’ ruck Mim Strom and said she has been fortunate enough to learn off State coach and AFL premiership ruck Beau McDonald who she says alongside her father, has had the most influence on her individual career.

“I’d have to say my dad or Beau McDonald, they’ve both been pretty great rolemodels for me,” Newson said. ‘My dad is always there hounding me but you’ve got put a lot of respect to him, and Beau’s been great, I think this last year in my development, my ruck craft has been crazy due to Beau.”

Last year was a learning curve for Newson, playing against bigger bodied state league rucks, before heading back to her age group and matching it with more athletic junior players. The experience was one that she thrived on, even when losing her head-to-head battle.

“I think the only way to get better as a player is to verse harder players and get out of your depth,” Newson said. That (Under 18s Championships) was crazy good, I kind of enjoy getting beaten up and learning new things and the only way you get better is by getting absolutely beaten up by like a South Australian ruck so it was really good.”

As for her goals she has set herself this season, Newson has kept it simple.

“Just to be happy with myself as a player at the end of the year and see a lot of progress through this year,” she said.

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