THE excitement in Caitlyn Edward’s voice is palpable when she talks about the prospect of playing football in front of 50,000 people.
The Thornlie and East Fremantle product is preparing for a homecoming of sorts when she is expected to be named in Collingwood’s side to take on Fremantle in their AFLW clash at Optus Stadium next weekend.
With 39,000 tickets sold more than a week prior and officials expecting attendance to push 50,000, the game looks set to break the record for the largest crowd ever at a women’s sports game.
While the prospect of playing in front a crowd that large may be daunting, Edwards said she was excited to potentially be part of history.
“I couldn’t believe it when they expected 30,000 a few weeks ago, I definitely didn’t expect that. 50,000 would be enormous,” she said.
“I’m super excited to get back on to home turf, I know Fremantle will have a bit of a home ground advantage, but the atmosphere will be awesome.
“It’s incredible to think about and awesome to be a part of. I know the girls are definitely very humble to be able to be given the chance to be able to smash all these records.”
Edwards has already experienced large crowds, having played in front of a 24,568 fans in the inaugural AFLW game at a sold-out Ikon Park last season.
She admitted the team had worked hard in the off-season after struggling at times with the crowd noise last season.
“Coming to a lockout 25,000 crowd was incredible, but one thing we didn’t do really well was adapting to the crowd noise,” she said.
“Playing at our local clubs, we wouldn’t have got more than roughly 1000. This year, we are taking that on board and we are training for that sort of high noise to be able to communicate in different ways.”
The young defender played in all seven of Collingwood’s AFLW games last season, but said she was targeting a much-improved showing this season.
“This year I just want to be playing. I wasn’t quite happy with last year’s performance, so I want an improvement on that,” she said,
“I have no exact stats, but I want to feel pretty happy with my game.”