By Tim Michell

THE performances of Calder Cannons coach Alicia Eva for AFLW club Collingwood have inspired the members of the TAC Cup club’s girls squad to aspire to reach the elite level.

The Cannons squad will kick off its inaugural campaign on Sunday, March 19 against Gippsland Power, the same day Eva will take the field for Collingwood against one of the AFLW’s flag favourites Adelaide.

However her influence on Calder’s TAC Cup girls squad, after leading the club’s under-18 Youth Girls Academy, has been profound.

“We definitely get around her,” TAC Cup girls player Chloe Molloy said.

“We definitely use her as motivation for our games. She always sends us messages wishing us luck.”

Eva, Collingwood’s vice-captain, has been involved at Rams Arena for several years as a development coach.

Her haul of awards from her playing career include six club best and fairests and two league best-and-fairest awards, so it comes as little surprise her players are intent on emulating her success.

After being snapped up by Collingwood in the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft, Eva told the club’s website she enjoyed being involved in the tactical side of football.

“I like being challenged and devising plans, but I also like the human element of building rapport with your players,” she said.

Eva produced one of highlights of Collingwood’s thrilling one-point AFLW win over Fremantle earlier this month, sprinting passed two opponents before soccering the ball through for a major.

“That goal was grouse, that second effort,” Molloy said.

Eva will have a host of support on her TAC Cup Girls coaching panel, with Jason Peak, Luke Russell, Russell Humphrey, Leesey Hodgkinson, Troy Newton, Darren Edmonston and Amanda Lazzari all serving as assistants.

“I don’t think any girl that has just been playing local footy would have experienced this before,” Peak said.



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