Pushing well outside the forward-50 arc might seem out of character for a stay-at-home full forward, but it’s exactly what Caitlin Greiser has her mind set on for Season 2022.
The two-time leading goalkicker for St Kilda hopes to utilise her strengths higher up the ground heading into her third AFLW season, with her improved fitness base fast-tracking those ambitions.
Moving up the ground isn’t entirely new for Greiser. Her first taste of venturing outside the arc came in the final game of 2021 against West Coast, with 16 disposals, 10 marks and two goals a potential entrée for what could transpire in the coming months.
“I was playing higher up (against West Coast) and trying to move around a bit more, so that’s what I want to aim to do every game this coming season,” Greiser told saints.com.au.
“That challenges me and it gives me different opportunities around the ground. Hopefully I can create some opportunities for us as a team and get some kicks inside-50 for the girls.
Greiser knocked 45 seconds off her two-kilometre personal best in early October, rounding out the pre-season staple as the Saints’ most dramatic improver.
While her impressive time trial result tells one story, the preceding work in the lead-up to it tells another.
The All-Australian forward completed multiple conditioning sessions – including during the days it wasn’t scheduled – during both the off-season and unofficial ‘pre-pre-season’, working closely with Strength & Conditioning Manager Ben Frith, Assistant Midfield Coach Alex Woodward and Performance Analyst Anthony Tang as she built up her engine over several months.
“My main focus coming into pre-season this year was just to get fitter,” Greiser said.
“Over the past couple of years I’ve been doing my best to do that, but I was more motivated than I feel like I’ve ever been to do well in the two-kilometre time trial. I wanted to push myself and take it to that next step.
“Especially with Nick Dal Santo coming in, he wants high standards. He wants us to raise the bar and just give an honest effort. I think I was trying to just give that honest effort and push myself to be as quick as I could in that aspect.”
Greiser is again set to be a major focus in opposition war rooms looking ahead to 2022, despite rival backlines successfully minimising her influence last season by sending two defenders to her.
But with an enhanced running capacity and a willingness to push up the ground in her arsenal, plus new tactics to shake defenders entering the mix, Greiser is keen to leverage her strengths and stretch defenders to their limits.
“Obviously I’ve still got a long way to go fitness-wise because match fitness is completely different to training fitness and time trial fitness and all that,” Greiser said.
“At the moment I’m just working with the forwards coach Lachlan Harris and just finding different strategies to get off my opponents. He, Woody (Woodward) and Dal have spoken to me about different ways I can get that advantage ahead of them and use my strength and body a lot more.
“But if I want to try and get around the ground a bit more and force my opponents to work hard, that fitness aspect will definitely have a major part in my game next year.
“I’m really working to be as fit as I possibly can.”