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AFLW: Gowans on Kearney

AFLW: Gowans on Kearney (June 13, 2018) North's AFLW coach Scott Gowans gives us a rundown of the players, starting with the B&E winner, Emma Kearney.

There aren’t enough superlatives to accurately describe the distinguished career of Emma Kearney.

As the 2018 league Best and Fairest continues to familiarise herself with her surroundings at Arden St, AFLW Senior Coach Scott Gowans believes that the best is yet to come.

“Emma Kearney is obviously a brilliant player,” Gowans told North Media.

“Best and fairest in the league last year, but also a dual sport athlete. [She] can play cricket as well [and] is a multiple All Australian. It’s a nice start to get her into the team.

“She plays in the midfield but I think she can go forward or play over the half back flank as well. That versatility is something we’re looking for in the team.

“The good thing with Emma, as with all the players that we’ve got so far, we want them to come to us and still have that growth mindset. She wants to improve in some areas of her game and I think we can do that here.

“I’m excited to see how much better she actually can be.”

When quizzed on her best attributes, Gowans was quick to praise the competitive spirit of Kearney.

As highlighted in her influential performance in last year’s AFLW Grand Final, Gowans sees Kearney’s unrivalled will to win as one of her major strengths, along with her elite skills in drawing the contested footy.

“Contested ball is definitely her strength,” he said.

“You probably see her in the grand final, that will to win and that competitive spirit.”

While many see the former MUWFC captain as a premier ball-winner and one of the best inside midfielders in the competition, Gowans sees the future of his prized recruit in a variety of roles across the ground.

“I think what we’re finding this year is that there’s a lot more positional changes, so it’s not just that Emma Kearney comes in and plays midfield,” he said.

“She’s actually had time down back [and] time up forward, as have a lot of the other players.

“It’s really pleasing to see that this year with the VFL, that it’s not all about winning, it does have that development aspect to it.

“She’ll play predominately midfield, forward and at times off half back to distribute the ball. She’s an elite kick and I think fitting in the team, she’ll always bring that leadership aspect to it as well.”

With the club captaincy and leadership group still to be confirmed, Gowans sees a role for Kearney, given her natural ability to lead from the front, irrespective of her official title.

“Whether she likes it or not, it’s part of the role she’ll play,” he said.

“The people just tend to follow the best player in the competition, so titles of captain and things like that will be sorted out at a later date. Emma’s one of those players that doesn’t need a title to be a leader.

“She will go and do what she does and everyone will follow.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs