WITH AN extended pre-season following the postponement of the 2022 AFLW season, the Game Changers have been putting in the hard yards ahead of their season opener on Sunday.
Perhaps no work has been more important than the hours put in with professional tackling coach, Malcolm Bangs.
Bangs has translated his own sporting experience into professional coaching, specialising in tackling within Australian Rules.
Bangs’ techniques not only look at improving the efficiency of tackles, but aim to refine execution in order to reduce injuries to both the player performing the tackle and their opponent.
Bangs primarily focuses on minimising head injuries by teaching players important lessons around head protection.
Concussion is always front of mind but looking at how specific tackles may increase a plant and twist in the knee can also reduce the risk of potential ACL injuries.
While Bangs’ has been working with the Game Changers over the pre-season, there’s something to learn across both AFLW and AFL competitions.
“It’s massively important, but it’s also important across gender. I think we get caught up in the idea that experience will teach us and consistently you’ll hear that someone has played forever, they know how to tackle – not necessarily,” Bangs said.
“They might know the outcome but not necessarily the process.”
For General Manager of Women’s Football Brett Munro, the decision to bring Bangs on board ahead of the AFLW season was a no-brainer.
“We thought it was our responsibility to the game and to our players to get Malcolm Bangs in,” Munro said.
“With concussion being such a big concern in our game, we thought it would be fantastic to educate our players.”
And Bangs couldn’t be happier using his passion to educate the next generation.
“I’m very lucky to have worked with so many players over the journey,” he said.
“It’s great to be around and reaffirm and reconnect with a lot of players that I’ve had some amazing times with previously, and to meet some new ones and see their faces and say – ‘hang on a second, I’ve never looked at it in that way before.’”