Reigning Best & Fairest Georgia Patrikios says St Kilda’s young brigade is ready to up the ante heading into its second year at the elite level.
Signs have been promising less than a week into the official pre-season, with the 19-year-old one of a number of Saints to register a personal-best time from last week’s scorching time trial.
“It’s really great to see everyone putting their best foot forward and returning fit and healthy,” Patrikios told saints.com.au.
“We have a young group, but we’re willing to put in the hard work to get in the results and we believe we can stand up heading into next season.
“I feel we’ve really showed a lot of strengths and as a group we’re all learning how to play together and it’s really showing in training sessions.”
Patrikios – who shaved a massive 45 seconds off her previous PB in Thursday’s gut-busting time-trial – was joined by young Saints Molly McDonald and Olivia Vesely in blitzing their times from last year.
The record time from the No. 21 came courtesy of her diligent off-season, which saw her down at her local park almost every day with a sharp focus on building her endurance and running power.
“One of my main goals was definitely to improve on my running,” Patrikios said.
“Seeing we had a lot of time away from the club, it was the perfect opportunity to be able to get myself as fit as possible.”
Patrikios would spend one to two hours training every day with either her partner or brother and would then add running sessions to the mix up to four times a week.
“I felt towards the end of last season I was getting really tired throughout games, but hopefully this year with the amount of running I’ve done it’ll become a lot easier,” she said.
“Last year I came in and wanted to prove myself to everyone, but this year I just tried my best, so I was in a completely different headspace and had a different train of thought as to what I did last year.
“The conditions were obviously very difficult last Thursday, but to get 45 seconds (off last year’s time) was huge for me.”
But the grind is far from over, and there’s added incentive for the Rising Star nominee to make an impact following the abrupt cancellation of the 2020 Season due to COVID-19.
“When it did come to an end it sort of was a bit of a reality check. It makes you want to win even more and just get better and keep developing as a team,” Patrikios said.
“It definitely drove me, and I bet it drove everyone else at the club getting to next season and seeing some results on the board.”
The fixture for the 2021 AFLW Season is expected to be announced in the first week of December, with the nine-round campaign, plus finals, expected to commence in early February.