MADDY McMahon is confident she can recapture the form that saw her named in last year’s All-Australian squad despite a less-than-ideal preparation for AFLW season.
The 30-year-old didn’t feature in Geelong’s VFLW campaign and has only resumed full training in recent weeks ahead of Sunday’s season-opener against Fremantle.
McMahon’s issues started with a concussion suffered in the final round loss to the GWS Giants, which ruled her out of the preliminary final loss to Adelaide.
“They just wanted to give me extra rest because I had symptoms for about a month after that,” she told krockfootball.com.au. “They just didn’t want to rush me, and I needed a break after it mentally.
“Then I got back into training, and I had a hamstring issue, and that lasted five to six months. It was an ongoing niggly thing that would flare up every time I tried to run fast.
“I was still running, but going faster (caused problems). I was nervous about getting back into pre-season because it was still niggly.
“But the strength and conditioning staff – Mon (Kelly) and the physios, they just knew what to do.
“It was never really diagnosed, but I kept running through it, and I don’t have any pain with it now.”
A star basketballer with WNBL experience following stints at the AIS and Bendigo, as well as a more-than-handy local netballer, McMahon admits her football journey so far has been “pretty crazy”.
“I didn’t even think I would play a game when I got drafted; it was just a bonus to play one game,” she said.
“In the end, they put me down in defence, and I was comfortable there; I just loved it.
“But I’m looking forward to consolidating what I’ve learnt. I’ve had another year of being able to get my body stronger, and, hopefully, that pays off.”
McMahon says having a better understanding of the strengths of her opponent is an area she has been working on.
“I naturally like to read the play and run off my opponent. But, sometimes, in certain cases, that’s not the best thing to do,” she said.
“They like me playing that natural game. But, if there’s an opportunity to stay on your opponent because they’ve got a different strength.
“In the practice match (against the Bulldogs), I was playing on a certain side, but then I’d have a new opponent.
“And because I can play on taller forwards, but then the shorter ones, I need to adapt quickly.”
The mother-of-three expects to take on more responsibility in defence following a finger injury that is likely to sideline All-Australian Meg McDonald for at least a month.
“Some of the girls have played footy their whole life, so in terms of football expertise, they may know more than me,” McMahon said.
“But I feel like I’ve played enough sport at a high level to be able to be a role model, I guess.
“I’m not like a leader that’s going to talk all the time or give anyone a pep talk. But I feel I’m a leader that’s able to lead by example.
“That’s one area I want to improve on this year. Just doing everything right, and, hopefully, the younger players see that.”