Western Bulldogs AFLW assistant coach Mel Hickey says she’s been impressed by the team’s standards and energy levels throughout the first official week of pre-season.
Hickey will oversee the Bulldogs’ backline this upcoming season, and said joining the red, white and blue was an “easy choice”.
“I feel like I’ve settled into the Kennel quite well – now that we’re into our second week of official pre-season, I felt like a player again coming in with the nerves before that first session,” Hickey told westernbulldogs.com.au.
“It’s been awesome to see the girls hit the track, and right from the first session attack it with really great standards and great energy.
“I’ve known Debbie for a number of years, and got to work with her at Melbourne so that was a huge appeal. Claire Heffernan as well is a good friend of mine, but (another appeal) is the calibre of players.
“Now that I’ve met Nathan Burke, and worked with Natalie Wood - we were teammates down at Darebin – obviously she coached us at Geelong as well, there’s just lots of nice little connections here at the Dogs.”
Hickey said she will draw on her experience as an assistant coach at the Geelong Falcons and head coach of the Vic Country program, while already highlighting her areas of focus for the upcoming season.
“I’m very much a strengths-based coach – I love to work with my players’ strengths and include that in the way that we play,” she said.
“We want to be a really aggressive backline - I think the important reflection from last season is to really be aggressive with how we attack off the backline as well,” she said.
“Defending is first and foremost, but to be able to translate into attack is going to be important too.”
Hickey is one of two new assistant coaches, with the Bulldogs also welcoming Dylan Roberton (forward-line) to the panel, while Natalie Wood will continue on as midfield coach.