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Cats defender to juggle playing and AFLW coaching role

Pre-season slog heats up across Australia A Footy Feed update with Matt Thompson

GEELONG defender Tom Stewart has been unveiled as an AFLW assistant coach on the same day former junior teammate Luke Dahlhaus started training with the Cats.

Stewart will take control of the defence in the Cats' inaugural women's side and spend two days a week at training and most match days, pending his playing commitments.  

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Approaching his third pre-season starting next week, Stewart said he was looking forward to the opportunity after being approached by head of football Simon Lloyd post-season.  

"It's a great initiative that we've got down here, to have an AFLW team is fantastic and it was an easy decision for me," he said.  

"Over the last two years at Geelong I have been able to develop significantly as a player, and I'm looking forward to being able to develop my coaching skills over the next few months with the AFLW group."

Recruited to the club after starring for local club South Barwon under Matthew Scarlett, Stewart said he will lean on the club great and current backline coach for advice.

"I was just asking him then about his training regime and the sort of drills we've been doing at AFL level," Stewart said.

"As much as I can trickle down from the AFL boys I'll bring it straight to the AFLW program." 

Stewart will be joined by Natalie Wood (midfield) and delisted Cat Aaron Black (forwards) under senior coach Paul Hood. 

Black is also set to continue playing VFL combined with a development coaching role with the Cats' young VFL defenders.

Meanwhile, Dahlhaus was eased into day one at Deakin University Oval, completing close to half of the session alongside the Cats' first-to-fourth-year players.  

With his former side the Western Bulldogs resuming their pre-season on Monday, Dahlhaus said he had fully recovered from the ankle injury that ruled him out for the final five matches in 2018.  

"It feels really good, my ankle's all fixed and ready to go," Dahlhaus said. 

"I just need to work on the tank and get that going a bit and get back into working with the footies."

Former Swan Gary Rohan also took part in the session, with Nakia Cockatoo limited to stationary ball work after last week complaining of soreness behind his troublesome left knee.

Speedster Quinton Narkle sent a scare through the Cats' camp after limping off with a right knee tweak, then receiving treatment before returning to run light laps.

Category B Irish recruit Stefan Okunbor continued his education after arriving in Australia last week, working closely with coaching staff.

Fellow Irishman Zach Tuohy was a keen onlooker over his countryman's work, with the senior defender to return to training next week alongside the rest of the playing group.