Tassie Roos keen to fire in season 2020 of the AFLW

COUNTDOWN IS ON: Chloe and Libby Haines are part of the Tasmanian group at North Melbourne for 2020. Picture: Phillip Biggs

COUNTDOWN IS ON: Chloe and Libby Haines are part of the Tasmanian group at North Melbourne for 2020. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Save for a couple of little hiccups, the Tasmanians under Scott Gowans' watch at the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos have had a strong pre-season campaign, with eight of the nine still in the frame for a round one berth early next month.

The one who will definitely miss out will be Wynyard's Chloe Haines, who has been sidelined what Gowans said the club believed was a bout glandular fever, with a round two or three season debut her best hope.

The setback for Haines comes as her twin sister Libby has "stepped up" this pre-season as the defender searches for her first game at the top level.

"She is actually the Tasmanian girl who has improved the most, as she has really improved at training and her GPS numbers have gone up and she just has a little bit of a different attitude this year, and that was the thing for me post-last season that sometimes you can try so hard to make it and you can think you have made it when you actually haven't,'' Gowans said.

The Haines twins, the former Burnie Dockers players who played for Launceston in the TSLW last season, are joined by fellow North-West Coast products Emma Humphries and Brittany Gibson, Launceston's Daria Bannister, Mia King and Abbey Green and Southern duo Nicole Bresnehan and Ellie Gavalas at North.

Eight of that group are based in Hobart, and training out of North Hobart Oval, with Gibson living in Melbourne, with match simulation/practice matches over the next two weekends, starting against Collingwood, to come.

FRESH START: Emma Humphries. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

FRESH START: Emma Humphries. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

FORWARD MOVE

The new season is set to bring a slight positional change for the experienced Humphries.

The 25-year-old from Wynyard, who spent time last season at half-back and on a wing, is set to spend time in the forward line, both across half-forward and deeper as a crumbing forward.

The move comes after she didn't kick a Sherrin in anger over winter after a shoulder reconstruction, with Gowans banking on her experience to see her hit the scoreboard and provide score assists.

She played the first five games (for a career total of 15 after 10 with Melbourne) last season before dropping out of the team.

"I think the shoulder operation has mentally given her the freedom to mentally to realise she hasn't got any restrictions with her body,'' Gowans said.

"Part of it with Emma for me last year was she is very good with ball in hand, but defensively she just couldn't impact due to the tackling and bumping as much as she wanted to, but so far she has been very good from that point of view.

"She is right in the mix for round one and she will be wing/half forward, and potentially as a deep small forward as well who can crumb the packs, which is where we are going to try her this week, but she is so polished with the footy she is right in the mix for round one.

"She knows why she was left out last year, but if we are ranking players on skills she is in the top half of the squad."

GENERAL RETURNS

There will be no change for Gibson, who is again part of the leadership group, and will be the general in defence.

"We did sit down with a plan and talked about moving her forward, but we decided in the end from the balance of the team, we just needed someone that can lead the team from behind the footy,'' Gowans said.

"She is just so good at that, and I told her she won't just be leading the backline, she will be leading the whole team from behind the ball, so we are going to plonk her behind the ball.

"When the game allows us we will still throw her in the middle or up forward to have an impact, but she is really fit and her numbers on the track from a GPS perspective are better than last year, and she seems happy, so I think she is in for a big year."

NEW FACES

Of the three draftees (Gavalas, King, Green), Gowans said he could see two of those three being part of the round one side against Melbourne at Casey Fields on February 8, with inside midfielders King and Gavalas fighting it out for one spot.

"Mia's development will come through learning why she plays, as being one the best juniors coming out of the state, she has obviously had the ball on the string, but now she has gone back and scrap more, but she is exactly what we need (an inside mid), '' Gowans said.

"Ellie and Mia are probably competing for the same spot to be honest, but what Ellie does offer is that she is super competitive and more mature."

Mia King. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

Mia King. Picture: Simon Sturzaker

Ruck Green, who as well as her knee issues has had shoulder and thumb problems which have limited her training time, is someone who will have a "big say" .

"With five on the bench you can afford to play two rucks, and have them changing forward, and we will probably use a little bit of a triangle system (with Emma King and Kate Gillespie-Jones) as the games go on, and her (Green's) ability to contest is really strong."

FULL FITNESS

Gowans is excited to see what a fully fit Bannister can do after the forward impressed after returning from a knee reconstruction last year, with the TSLW best and fairest expected to have more midfield time.

"She is driving the intensity at training and will be one of our key players,'' he said.

Nicole Bresnehan. Picture: Paul Scambler

Nicole Bresnehan. Picture: Paul Scambler

Clarence's Bresnehan impressed in defence last year, with Gowans saying she is even stronger this year, but match-ups would be a determining factor on her round one hopes.

"We might even move her up the ground if the opportunity arises for an inside-mid role as I think it is something she will do well at,'' Gowans said.

North will play GWS at UTAS Stadium on February 15 and Adelaide at North Hobart Oval on March 7.

This story Tassie Roos keen to fire in season 2020 first appeared on The Examiner.