Mick Rutley

As a level two accredited coach, Rutley arrives at Ikon Park with plenty of experience. Coaching the senior team at Wandin Football Club this season, the 33-year-old has also spent time as a midfield coach at the Calder Cannons (2016) and held development roles at both Box Hill (2015) and Casey Scorpions (2014). Senior Coach Damien Keeping fell ill after the opening round clash against Collingwood and was unable to coach for the round 2 and 3 clashes and as a result Rutley would coach the team in those games.

Rutley: Great signs for the future
AFLW assistant coach Nick Rutley believes there are plenty of positives to take into the final game of the season. Despite being understandably frustrated with his side’s slow start to Sunday’s contest, Rutley said he was pleased with the team’s response after quarter time. “We just needed to compete, we came into the game with a lot of plans, we knew we needed to own the outside against Melbourne and we just didn’t comply with that,” Rutley told Carlton Media. “We needed to identify where we broke down, and once we spoke about that at quarter time we saw the effort we needed to have at the start of the game and that progressed for the rest of the game. “If you cut that first quarter out, effectively we win the game by three points, but you can’t give teams like Melbourne a 38-point buffer because you’re not going to get that back.” Despite the Blues falling well short of a Grand Final spot, Rutley commended the development of the team’s youth and newcomers who he believes will hold the squad in good stead going forward. “We’ve had some fantastic growth areas, but haven’t clicked and put it all together at the one time, but when we have we’ve won games or gone close and there’s a lot of positives to take out of it. Injuries do hurt but it’s how you adapt and move. “Games like today, Georgia Gee gains two-to-three games of experience, same as Bridie Kennedy and Reni Hicks, those girls have been outstanding. Breann Moody’s also had a fantastic season in the ruck. “To also have girls that have come from state league footy and thrusted into the midfield, the likes of Maddy Gay and Sophie Li, those girls have been exceptional. They take a huge amount of learning out of this season, it’s not all lost and we’re keen to see some drastic improvement and progression next year. “We just have to be patient with the process, we know it’s there, we just have to put it in place.” After starting the season with back-to-back wins, the Blues have fallen into four-game losing streak. Despite the disappointing end to the season, Rutley is adamant there’s still plenty to gain in ending the season on a high against Fremantle next week. “It’s no secret we’ve had to battle some challenges this year both internally and externally, but the reality is, that’s footy and you have to adapt as best as you can,” Rutley said. “It was hard, it wasn’t without challenges, but every club is experiencing that. AFLW is brutal, it’s so fast and there isn’t much time to recover or prepare, it’s a fast season. “We’ve got one more game to go, we have to do the football club proud, move on and do our best and that starts against Fremantle next week.” - Nicholas Mirarchi, Carlton Media.

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