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COLLINGWOOD is “on top of the world” and eyeing the inaugural AFL Women’s premiership.
Magpies women’s coach Wayne Siekman is in the enviable position of having a full squad of players to choose from for Friday night’s historic league and season-opening clash with Carlton at Ikon Park.
And, in true Collingwood style, expectations are high for the eight-week season ahead with Siekman already plotting to have his team feature in the first AFLW Grand Final.
“Our plan from day one is to make the grand final,” he declared.
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“You can’t win a premiership unless you make the grand final, so we are planning to play in eight weeks’ time. That’s the goal of this club, of the players and coaching staff.
“There is no point hiding from that. The other seven teams are probably saying the same thing but that’s something we have got to do.
“If we can ensure players play their role, and continue to develop and improve, we’ll see what we can achieve.”
Siekman’s charges had their first official practice match on Thursday night against the Western Bulldogs, with all 27 players coming through unscathed.
“As a football club, we are on top of the world … we’ve got 27 to pick from and I don’t think there’s many other clubs in the AFLW that can say they’ve got 27 to pick from in Round 1,” he said.
“As a coach, I’m pretty stoked at the moment.
“They’ve got this opportunity, they’ve been training so hard for the last eight weeks and the time has come and it’s their time to shine.”
Friday night’s match was forced to be moved from Olympic Park due to attendance estimations.
The AFL is anticipating that as many as 15,000 people could attend the historic match.
Defender and football operations manager Meg Hutchins, who turns 35 on Friday, has waited longer than most, having played senior football for 15 years but grew up “just knowing that AFL was for boys”.
Not any more — and it will be the ultimate birthday present.
“We’re in the week that we’ve been waiting for and can’t wait to get there, pull on the jumper for the first time and to run out through a Collingwood banner for the first time,” she said.
“It’s going to be a week of firsts for everyone and everyone should make the most of it and take it in.”
Hutchins formerly ran water for Uni Blues, whose ruckman at the time was none other than now-AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
If the league had been launched in 2020 as originally forecast, it could have been off the table for Hutchins, who joked the boss could be in for a job change on Friday.
“This is going to be one of his biggest legacies,” she said.
“I’m really thankful.
“I should get him to run water for me, like I did for him.”