Geelong Women’s VFL: St Mary’s netball star Renee Garing weighs up switch to footy

 Renee Garing. Picture: Alison Wynd
Renee Garing. Picture: Alison Wynd

ST MARY’S netball coach Renee Garing and Geelong Lady Supercats captain Anna Teague have emerged as some of the leading local sportswomen considering a footy career at Geelong.

The Cats believe Garing’s marking and athletic base, honed from her accomplished netball career, would make her a worthy selection in their inaugural VFL Women’s squad.

The three-time GFL league medal winner was one of more than 150 footballers, codehoppers and athletes who turned out for Geelong’s talent ID day at Deakin University on Saturday.

Geelong will use the scouting session to form an initial pre-season training squad of about 45 players, striking the balance between bona fide football talent and speculative prospects.

“We were really pleased with the amount of talent we saw,” VFL Women’s coach Paul Hood said.

“It wasn’t really surprising. We were going into the unknown a bit, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were happy with what we saw.”

Garing, Teague and local Australian baseball representative Leslie Anglin were among a group of about 25 athletes from other sports with limited to no previous football experience.

Others trying out included existing Geelong Magpies players and interstate football prospects from Townsville and Goondiwindi Hawks in Queensland.

Local AFL draftees Richelle Cranston, Lily Mithen and Maddie Boyd were not required to try out and will be available to play for the Cats at VFL level next season.

Geelong will hold further discussions with players in the coming days to gauge their interest in committing to VFL-level football before releasing the squad later this week.

“There’s some very good athletes, but you obviously can’t have a team full of players who haven’t played before,” Hood said.

“But you obviously want to have some players in the squad that have some potential.”

The Cats secured their place in the VFL Women’s league after last month taking over the licence of the trailblazing Geelong Magpies.

The move is seen as a ­crucial stepping stone for the Cats as they build their case to secure an AFL Women’s berth in 2018.

Garing could still continue her role at St Mary’s, even if she makes the Cats’ list.

“Obviously she’s an elite sportsperson and she attacked the day with intensity,” Hood said. “She’s a terrific mark — I watched her take some marks on the lead when Shane O’Bree was kicking to her and she kicked the ball hard.

“You can see from her netball background she is used to moving at speed and taking the ball at speed.

“She’s certainly got a skillset we could work with and looks like she could be a wonderful addition to any team.”

Teague’s basketball background ensured she also displayed sound ball handling ability — and the Cats also rate her leadership qualities.

Teenagers hopeful of joining the Geelong Falcons Youth Girls Academy, to be led by former local footy champion Jason Armistead, also took part in the day.

Players unsuccessful in making Geelong’s VFL squad will be encouraged to join the Geelong Magpies, who will field a side in a nearby senior competition next year such as in Melbourne or Ballarat.

Further excess players would be used to help form a new women’s football club in the region, as part of a vision to have a senior women’s football league in Geelong within two years.

Story and images courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser.