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AFLW: Early standout as Dogs hit the track

Pre-Season In The Sun The AFLW squad are back in action with their first day of pre-season training.

WESTERN Bulldogs captain Katie Brennan was an early standout as her side began preparations to rectify a disappointing inaugural NAB AFL Women's campaign when it returned to training at Whitten Oval on Monday.

As the temperature hovered around 30 degrees, Brennan showcased her excellent condition. A torn ligament in her right ankle hampered the forward in the lead-up to the 2017 season, while a torn right quad ended her season after two games.

But her year improved significantly. She won the VFL Women's best and fairest award and leading goalkicking awards in a premiership year for the Darebin Falcons.

Bulldogs coach Paul Groves told Brennan was well-placed to deliver on the national stage.

"She's prepared herself really well for this pre-season so hopefully that plays a part in injury prevention as well," Groves said.

The No.1 selection in this year's NAB AFLW Draft, Isabel Huntington, completed the full session. The exciting prospect had a left knee reconstruction in 2016.

Huntington, at 180cm, has played mostly in attack, but Groves said the 18-year-old would be a valuable utility.

"Does throwing her forward potentially not help her development? Don't know. She can play across half-back (or at) centre half-back. She can also play on a wing. It's too early to say," Groves said.

"We're really keen for her to play multiple positions so we can swing her around in a game."

Despite the Bulldogs coming off a sixth-place finish, Groves pointed out they were not too far away. Conversion in front of goal will be a major focus ahead of their round one clash against Fremantle, on February 4.

"We were obviously disappointed to finish 2-5 but it's funny, I was showing the girls a lot of the stats – we won 15 out of 28 quarters for the year. Melbourne, which nearly played in a Grand Final, won 16 quarters. There are a lot of positives in the way we played last year," Groves said.

"We had the second-most scoring shots in the competition. I think we averaged over 10 shots a game. I think Adelaide were the highest at 12, and then next below us was Melbourne, I think at nine shots.

"We kicked 31.51, so it's fair to say we'll be doing a fair bit of goalkicking throughout this pre-season."

The No.4 pick, Monique Conti, trained on Monday but will play with the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL until their season finishes, with finals taking place in January.

Emma Kearney (cricket) and Aisling Utri (hockey) also have commitments with other sports.

Rookie Daria Bannister has her last year 12 exam this week and will join the squad for the first time on Saturday.

Groves nominated midfielder Brooke Lochland and defender Libby Birch as two who returned to pre-season in outstanding shape, with Kearney also impressing.