Carbs cut, kilos gone for Cat

February 5, 2020 10:15 am in by
Geelong ruck Aasta O'Connor in action in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

VETERAN Geelong ruck Aasta O’Connor has revealed how a strict approach to low-carb diet has seen her lose five kilograms and has the 32-year-old primed for the 2020 AFLW season.

O’Connor, who made her first appearance since Geelong’s preliminary final loss to Adelaide in a practice match against former club Western Bulldogs on January 25, admits following post-2019 season surgery, she was no certainty to make the start line in 2020.

“I had an operation in May, and we just weren’t sure how that would go; whether my knee would respond and be able to hold up,” O’Connor told

Article continues after this ad

“So the plan that we put together with the medical and high-performance team here was “do the work and just see”.

“It’s worked in my favour. I’ve been able to complete about 90 per cent of pre-season.

“Last year, I was sitting at 50 per cent. I think the crew behind the scenes were really happy with that.”


O’Connor says the decision to make adjustments to her diet came during rehab.

Article continues after this ad

“It was tough at the start because I like my carbs. But, once you start seeing the rewards of it, it’s easy to buy-in,” she said.

“When you have an injury, and you’re in rehab, some things are out of your control, and I knew that my nutrition was one thing I could really control.

“And being an athlete, you need to feel like you’re in the drivers’ seat. So that gave me that control back.”

However, O’Connor says prolonging her illustrious career wasn’t motivation to cut the carbs.

“If it works, great. But, if you were to say me it’s all going to be over tomorrow, I’d get on with my life,” she said.

Article continues after this ad

“Footy is one part of me. The game’s been really good to me, but I feel like I’ve been able to be good back to the game, and that’s important.

“You need to be able to feel like you’ve been able to contribute. And I’m really comfortable and content with where I sit.

“But, that doesn’t mean to say I’m not competitive and I don’t want to be out there for as long as physically possible.”


With the departure of Erin Hoare, O’Connor holds the mantle as No.1 ruck at GMHBA Stadium.

Article continues after this ad

But she is well aware of the challenge to maintain her status is coming from Rene Caris.

The 19-year-old, who made two appearances at AFLW level in 2019, has benefited from 11 games in Geelong’s VFL team last year and another pre-season under her belt.

“I’ve said to her “don’t accept that you’re on the list to be the second ruck; come and take that first spot”,” O’Connor said.

“Sometimes I think young people think “I’m a bit younger, I’m doing my time”. But, no, get in there and let’s have a healthy competition for that spot.

“Her attributes and my attributes, I think, complement each other. She’s an aerobic beast; her 2km numbers are phenomenal for a player of her size and shape.

Article continues after this ad

“The things we are working on really closely with Rene are her physicality and follow up.

“But she’s embraced that challenge. She bashes me up just as much as training.”

Twitter: @tom_king79