For most of the season, Caitlin O’Dwyer has been the only player from last year’s triumphant Yarrawonga A-grade side to line up for the Pigeons. She caught up with The Border Mail’s Beck O’Connell ahead of yet another finals campaign for the Ovens and Murray powerhouse.
BO: It’s the first round of finals and you finished third, what kind of preparation have you guys been doing for Saturday’s game?
CO: This week we actually had the whole team that we’re playing with this week all together, so we had a really good training session on Thursday night. I guess the whole season it’s been all over the place with different players in, so it’s been good to have the team together to go through some set plays and work together. Everyone is feeling really good and really positive that we got top-three, because we didn’t really know how we were going to go at the start with the way things panned out. We’ve had a really solid week and we’re looking forward to Saturday.
BO: You probably didn’t have a start to the season like the club is used to, how important was it over the last couple of weeks to push for the double chance?
CO: In the past five years or so there’s been a positive outlook on finals. Not so much high expectations, but wanting to be in the finals and having the confidence we can get there. There’s a strong group of girls that have been there for a while and we never gave up and never stopped believing we could get there. It was good luck that Corowa won that we got that third spot.
BO: You’ve got a really good mix of youth and experience this year, how have those younger girls been that have come into the side?
CO: I think it’s been good, I know we’ve had a lot of different things like injuries and pregnancies, but it’s been about giving them the time on court and giving them confidence. If we had a full side, they might not have got the four quarters every week, but I think the game time has definitely given them confidence. From the start of the year, they’ve grown and improved so much. Now at the end of the year, we’ve really got used to playing with each other and the young girls have done really well.
BO: Do you treat those young girls any differently given its their first year in finals in A-grade, or is it business as usual.
CO: They seem like they’ve played A-grade before and you kind of forget they’re younger. We’ll treat it like any game, they’ve played all year in A-grade and I think they’ll be fine.
BO: How has Bridget (coach Bridget Cassar) been as a sideline coach?
CO: I can tell how much she wants to be on court and wants to help out. She’s had so much on her plate this year (having a baby). She loves being on court, but she’s definitely got the knowledge and experience and has been a great coach all year. I think now she’s back on court she feels a lot better.
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