MELBOURNE’S AFLW side officially kicked off pre-season last week in preparation for the sixth season of the AFL Women’s competition.
While the side has been back together for a number of weeks in an informal induction period, coach Mick Stinear said the players have been working hard through their training programs for some time now.
“Having an exemption to train during lockdown has been a bonus for professional athletes,” Stinear told Melbourne Media.
“For them to have access to the gym and still be able to get out on Gosch’s to train has been important for us to keep improving, but it’s also been really helpful for that team connection.”
With a new season comes new faces and the Demons have seen six additions to their list, with Stinear excited by the full playing group.
“We’re rapt with the list, we feel like it’s one of the strongest we’ve put together to start the competition,” Stinear said.
“We’ve got Tayla Harris up forward. Her athleticism, mobility and competitiveness will be really exciting for our group.
“Olivia Purcell with her ability to add to our midfield once she’s completed her rehab and when she’s ready. She’ll certainly be a long-term prospect for us and her competitiveness is something we really value.
“Eliza West is a rookie who joined our team after an outstanding VFLW season at Casey. She’s such a good competitor and a hard worker.
“Then the three draftees, Georgia Campbell, our first father-daughter selection, Tahlia Gillard from the Calder Cannons and then Ali Brown who’s been playing at Casey.”
Coming off a season that saw the side bow out in the Preliminary Final, Stinear said the Demons were hungry to go further, even more-so having seen the success of the AFL program just three weeks prior.
“It’s been an exciting couple of weeks, seeing what the boys were able to achieve. The girls feel like they’re ready and they’ve learned a lot,” Stinear said.
“[This year] it’s about consistency of our behaviours and consistency of executing our role for the team.
“Last year we got a good taste of what that looks like when everyone’s doing their bit. The girls won five games in a row and were loving their footy and then unfortunately in the prelim, Adelaide played well and we weren’t able to perform.
“I think the really valuable lesson is that we need to be better for longer, so pre-season is the perfect time to engrain those habits and behaviours and train the group on how we want to play.
“I feel like we have the right plan we just need to go and execute it.”