CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, but Melbourne’s AFLW side is full steam ahead.

The girls will get the chance to stop and relax for a few days over the holiday period, but senior coach Mick Stinear says it’s crucial for his side to start turning their focus to Round 1.

“We’ll train up until Saturday the 21st, then the girls will have eight days off which they’ve earned – it’s been a solid month of preparation,” Stinear told Melbourne Media.

“And then we’re back on the 30th and that’ll give us a chance to really start to build and get into some more match play.

“There’s not a lot of time to rest over the Christmas period but the girls will certainly benefit from a bit of a freshen up.”

While the pre-season preceding 2020 has been shorter than ever, Stinear couldn’t be more impressed with the girls’ efforts to date.

“They’ve been brilliant. They’ve been working pretty hard and they’re committed to getting the best out of themselves,” he said.

“They’re all pretty professional away from the club, but our competitiveness has gone to another level.

“Our game style drills, it’s certainly far advanced on last year.

“[We’re] excited to start to put that to the test against some other teams in the new year – that’ll be the good test.

“I feel like we’ve laid the foundation … and then it’s really putting that into practice and seeing how that operates under pressure of playing against opposition teams.”

Season four of the AFLW competition will be tougher than ever due to the expansion of the league, but despite the inclusion of four new teams, the Dees are well positioned to push for a maiden finals berth.

“We’ve probably got 26 really healthy and fit players at the moment and a couple that will be ready to go in the new year,” Stinear said.

“We’ve got great depth; it’s going to be tough for spots.

“Selection is a while away but that’ll certainly have its challenges which is where good teams want to be.”

The Demons bolstered their squad over the off-season with a number of recruits, and with the slightly new mix, the club has gone to great lengths to gel the group together.

“They had an opportunity to spend some time with each other during the induction period – they organised a get together,” Stinear said.

“We’re just coming off our camp, so we feel like the players are really getting to know each other away from footy, then they’re connecting really well on-field on the back of some solid training as well.”

Melbourne’s AFLW campaign kicks off on Saturday the 8th of February when it takes on North Melbourne at Casey Fields.