Ericson new to the flock but not the competition

MICHAEL Ericson may not be about to take on his first rodeo as a VFLW coach, but there are certainly new things he has encountered in his second stint in the VFLW.

The new Box Hill coach was previously a coach at Darebin and Essendon, and noted that the coaching is similar between clubs that are and are not aligned, some of the big differences are the facilities and resources and the number of coaches.

This previous experience ultimately helped him want to go for the role at the Hawks.

“Previously when I’ve coached at other clubs, Box Hill have been that rival that I’ve always wanted to beat,” he said. “So when I was at Darebin and when I was at Essendon and it was, you know, Box Hill were sort of emulated a club that you really wanted to beat.”

“So seeing the role and applying for it, it was just too good of an opportunity not to throw my hat in the ring for so. The facilities you’ve got across Hawthorn and Box Hill, the programs you’ve got, how well they align with one another, and Hawthorn being so close last year with where they finished, it ticked a lot of boxes for me, and I was really excited to apply, and I’m really excited once I got given the role. So, they were kind of the driving factors for why I wanted to do it.”

Ericson said that preseason had been going really well but “it’s felt like it’s been long a little bit, with the Christmas break”.

Many of the returning faces are the ones to have impressed their new boss out on the track, including Ellie McLinden, Caitlin Thorne and Mietta Kendall. Some of the new faces have impressed too though, including Danika Spammer.

Spammer is not the only new face at the club, with Ericson saying that he thinks as much as 50 per cent of his list is new. Some of the other new faces Ericson said to keep an eye on this season were former West Australian Jessica Cox and former AFLW players Olivia Barber, Tess Cattle, Tamara Luke, Rosie Dillon and Jessica Matin.

Ericson said that the plan to get the Hawks to finally take that next step and make a Grand Final was centred around improving the players’ decision making.

“What our coaches have been doing over pre season has sort of been building the skills of game education and decision making,” he said. “So, we’re trying to really help our players be able to make the best decisions whilst playing, which in turn should help come, hopefully, we’re at the end of the season when we have this talk again and we’re moving into finals and hopefully the players have been able to develop throughout the year and make more right decisions than wrong.

“We’ve kind of peeled back our game plan a bit more and just really focused on those fundamentals and decision making being like these are your decisions which would be your best in what scenario and why and giving them the how to do it as opposed to we definitely want to have done this way.”

Ericson also confirmed there was a plan in place to play at least some of the club’s AFLW listed players.

“We will probably play a majority of them throughout the year at some stage,” he said. “What that sort of looks like will be dependent on an individual case.”

“So if I’m putting the Hawthorn AFLW hat on, we want to see development for some of the players that maybe didn’t get much of an opportunity last year and some players that were brought into the club to be able to gel together before the AFLW season starts.”

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