Ash Brazill is juggling AFLW and Super Netball commitments. Picture: Jay Town
Ash Brazill is juggling AFLW and Super Netball commitments. Picture: Jay Town

Brazill: AFLW needs to get better, not bigger

Collingwood cross-code star Ashleigh Brazill wants to see the brakes put on AFLW expansion, saying the league needs to concentrate on strengthening the product it has.

As Brazill prepares to launch into her second year juggling AFLW and Super Netball, the Magpies' netball best-and-fairest said the league needed to focus on building depth rather than spreading talent too thin.

Geelong and North Melbourne enter the competition this season to take the league to 10 teams, while Richmond, West Coast, St Kilda and Gold Coast are set to enter in 2020.

"I'm not a fan that we are having more teams because I think we need to really build that depth and make it hard (to get in),'' Brazill said.

"I am so grateful that I can do two sports, but I would love it to be where I didn't have that option like it was so hard to get in you could only do one or the other.

"Netball is definitely like that, there is only 80 spots. I would love to see football at the stage where only the best can make it in.

"AFLW is definitely working really hard on its pathways … but I would like to see just the 10 teams stay 10 for a while.''

Brazill is among several netballers in the AFLW this year alongside Magpies teammate Sharni Layton, former Vixens goaler Erin Hoare (Geelong) and Taylah Davies at the Giants.

 

 

Brazill shows off her power during a practice match with Melbourne. Picture: Ian Currie
Brazill shows off her power during a practice match with Melbourne. Picture: Ian Currie

 

She has again carried a heavy pre-season workload as she juggles training for both sports to prepare for back-to-back seasons. On the three days she trains for both AFLW and netball, she has been at the club from 7am in the morning until 10pm at night.

Brazill broke down on the eve of the opening AFLW round last year with a hamstring injury and was only able to play two matches in the seven-week season, but is confident her body is better prepared this year.

"I think (last year) it was my body saying you're not a runner, calm down,'' Brazill said.

"Going from a 30m court to however big the football field is, it was just the running load for me which was just a shock to my body.

"Netball this year only started in January for Collingwood, so October, November, December I've been able to teach my body to run longer distance.

"I'm definitely a sprinter, but I feel like a footballer at the moment, which is nice.

"There is moments when you are at work and you are a bit exhausted … I've definitely learnt the limits of my body.''

 

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