JENNA Bruton and her North Melbourne teammates hope to make up for lost time when AFLW makes its long-awaited return this week.
The Trentham export, a premiership player with the Western Bulldogs in 2018, has admitted to a few nerves as crowds return to stadiums across Victoria for the first time in 10 months.
For Bruton, it's been a long off-season after her Kangaroos came so close to premiership glory in 2020, only to have it snatched away from them when the season was abruptly halted. At that stage, North sat on five wins from six games, with only the unbeaten Fremantle in front of them.
This Sunday the road to redemption begins when the Kangaroos head to Geelong to kick-start the season.
"I'm pretty nervous, but excited," Bruton told The Courier.
"Hopefully we'll see a fair few people there.
"I understand they are allowed to have up to 13,000 - I'm sure it will be mostly Geelong supporters, but hopefully we'll get a fair bit of support as well."
IN OTHER NEWS
The AFLW draw is being produced in two-week blocks. After the Geelong match, North Melbourne will host St Kilda at Arden Street, but the round three match, scheduled to be against Fremantle in Perth, is yet to be confirmed due to Western Australia's tough border conditions.
"We're meant to play Freo in round three, but we're yet to find out exactly how that's going to work," Bruton said.
"It could be an option for hubs, but that will be difficult for a few girls who have full-time jobs, we also have a few in the team with children as well."
The Kangaroos head into the season as premiership favourites, just ahead of the Dockers in early markets, but Bruton says she knows it will be a tough season ahead, having already come face-to-face with a vastly improved Collingwood in a pre-season hit-out.
"We played against Collingwood and lost to them by 12 points," she said. "
We were a bit off our game, but they showed they will be a big improver this year, they are looking strong."
The AFLW season begins tonight at Princes Park with the now traditional Carlton versus Collingwood match-up.
The Kangaroos travel to Geelong on Sunday afternoon.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.