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AFLW: Perkins tips more firepower

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  November 21, 2017 10:23 AM

Sarah Perkins Presser November 20 Sarah Perkins speaks to media ahead of pre-season number two.
... Everyone's coming out after us now.

Adelaide cult hero Sarah Perkins has warned rival clubs to focus defensive attention on her at their peril as the Crows promise a multi-pronged attack in their quest for back-to-back NAB AFL Women’s premierships. 

Perkins was the focal point of the Crows' forward line last season, booting a team-high 11 goals and earning herself a spot in the 2017 Virgin Australia AFL Women's All Australian team. 

It was a far cry from this time 12 months ago, when Perkins went undrafted and moved to Adelaide from Melbourne for an opportunity in the newly formed AFLW competition after signing with the Crows as a free agent.

Perkins said she doesn't mind if opposition sides try and shut her down, as the Crows have lots of other ways to hit the scoreboard. 

"Good luck to them," the 24-year-old Perkins said on Monday before the start of pre-season training. 

"We've recruited well and I'm not going to be the only target. 

"It's going to be a much more even spread this year and we're going to work much better as a team now that we've had that first season together."

The Crows officially began their title defence on Monday night with a gruelling pre-season training session at Football Park that included a 2km time trial. 

With the exception of marquee forward Kellie Gibson – who returned to Western Australia and joined Fremantle – the Crows have retained the bulk of the squad that helped them win the flag.

They also added Jess Allan (younger sister of utility Sarah), Jasmyn Hewett, Eloise Jones, former Adelaide United captain Marijana Rajcic, Ruth Wallace and Rheanne Lugg in the NAB AFLW Draft. 

Lugg made a particularly impressive start, taking out the time trial ahead of Ebony Marinoff in group one. Midfielders Deni Varnhagen and Justine Mules battled right to the finish line in the second run.

Rheanne Lugg is cheered on by teammates as she nears the finish line of the 2km time trial

Olympic beach volleyballer Becchara Palmer and 18-year-olds Calista Boyd and Brianna Walling are on the Crows' rookie list, with squads expanded from 27 players to 30 for next season.

"We've got a bit to improve on," Perkins said. 

"We've got to bring in the new girls and bring them up to speed on our culture and welcome them in with open arms and into our family." 

The Crows start their title defence when they host the Brisbane Lions in a Grand Final rematch in round one at Norwood Oval on February 3.

"We've already watched the Grand Final," Perkins said. 

"I'm sure we'll watch it again and work on the things we need to improve on to be better, because everyone's coming out after us now. 

"We just want to get better."