Hope's itching to kick the 'bloody football'
AFL: Collingwood spearhead Moana Hope insists she is not feeling the pressure to perform on the big stage after an "overwhelming" build-up to tonight's historic AFLW opener.
As the Magpies and Blues prepare to open a new chapter in women's sport at Ikon Park, Hope said she just "can't wait to kick the bloody football''.
The marquee Magpie has been in the spotlight as one of the key faces of the new women's league, with the tattooed full-forward emerging as a cult figure before a game has been played.
But Hope, who kicked 100 goals in the women's VFL last year, said she was simply focused on playing her role within the team.
"I've been playing footy personally for 21 years and I've been training with an amazing bunch of girls for the past three months,'' Hope said.
"The way that we're training and the structures that we're training to, I'm going out to do what the coach and the team needs of me.
"That's not based on anyone else except my team.
"So I just want to go play football, I think that's what everyone needs to do really. That's what we're there for.''
The in-demand Hope said she could never have imagined her build-up to the new eight-team competition would be as big as it had been.
"The whole past three to six months, it has just been overwhelming,'' Hope said.
"I keep using the same words, pinch yourself, it seems so surreal. It's kind of like a childhood dream coming true for us so we're enjoying those moments, loving them and we just can't wait to kick the bloody football.''
With so much emotion surrounding the opening women's game, Carlton marquee player Darcy Vescio predicted the opening five minutes of the match would be frantic.
"I think all the girls will be raring to go, but hopefully the nerves will settle after the first five (minutes) and we can just play our style of footy,'' Vescio said.
"I have been trying not to think about it too much because you don't want to get too excited too soon or sort of play the game out in your head."
Hope added: "I think the GPS trackers might explode after the first five minutes."
Hope and Vescio both represented the Bulldogs in last year's exhibition game, but the Magpies' star expected the intensity to go up a level.
"Now it's different because it's the season, it's not just an exhibition game,'' Hope said.
"Every win is going to count because it's top two grand final and that's where we want to be.''
The opening women's match was moved from Olympic Park to Ikon Park due to the expected high demand, with some predicting up to 20,000 to attend at the 22,000-capacity venue.
Hope backed supporters to embrace the new competition.
"I think they are definitely going to come out - there is so much hype around it, so much excitement and that's amazing for women's football,'' she said.
"That's a win the fact that this place could be packed tomorrow, it gives me butterflies, but also where women's football (could) go, that's amazing.''