NEW Greater Western Sydney (GWS) assistant coach Georgia Walker is not only enjoying her time in her role, but is also very excited about what the future holds for the Giants.
She says that preseason has gone very well for both her and the girls she is coaching.
“It’s been personally really exciting, obviously first year in an AFLW program as a coach,” she said. “I’ve been a train-on for the Giants previously trying to get onto their AFLW list, so I knew a lot of the girls prior, so sliding in for me the transition was quite easy.
“I’ve known Lloyd [Perris] and John Vlatko in the past, and me and Cam [Bernasconi] have been mates for a few years too, so with our coaching staff preseason has been the smoothest transition. We’ve really bonded together and really bought into our new game plan and we’re all on the same page as where we’re wanting to go with our journey over the next few years and with our vision.
“We’ve got such a young, vibrant, excited group of girls that especially with the new eight players coming in, basically a whole quarter of our list is new and their energy and the talent that they’re bringing in is great. “We’ve definitely stepped it up a notch a bit this year.”
Under new coach Cam Bernasconi, a new game plan has been brought in that will hopefully for the Giants alleviate some of their scoring issues from last season.
“In previous seasons we’ve been quite a defensive first team, so contest and defence without looking at the weapons of the team and how we can really incorporate the strength of our individual players to score,” Walker said.
“Generating a lot of offence from our backline and like the game on Friday [against Sydney] five of our mids scored goals out of the seven, so the game plan has shifted a little bit to engage our backs to transition offensively and then our mids to create more as well.”
Heading into this season, Walker said that the goal for this season is not necessarily about where they finish at season’s end, but building for longer term success.
“We’ve talked about a vision regarding the next few years,” she said. “I think for this year it’s a bit of a weird one. [This coming season] is almost not quite a free pass, but for us with this game plan, we’ve not necessarily set those goals of we want to finish top of the ladder, we have to make finals or a grand final.
“Every year we want to make finals, that’s everyone’s team goal, so that yes obviously is the golden bag, the pot at the end of the rainbow type thing for us. The goal is to make sure we’re all coming together. We really call this a journey, it’s not about a rebuild, it’s not about starting again or anything like that.
“This season allows us to build on for the next three, four years moving forth, and if we can get that connection early and start to build that success I think that’s really what we’re hoping to get out of this season. And we know we will, it’s just a matter of it all coming together and when.”
This off-season has been a different one for the Giants in the sense that they now have cross town rivals Sydney to contend with.
Walker said the excitement is already there about finally having the Swans in the competition.
“You can already feel the rivalry, especially pre game last Friday,” she said. “It’s really special, and I think we were talking a lot pre game about how the week before the men, AFL and VFL, the Sydney teams smashed the Giants boys, and it was like you know this is the women’s opportunity to you know raise the flag for the club, and the Giants are really looking at that one club mentality and trying to connect the dots between all facets, netball and AFL and AFLW.
“We’re so excited and we can feel that there’s so much momentum and energy and talk around it as well, and we’ve got really good connection across between coaching staff and players, and being in Sydney everyone knows everyone, so no it’s really exciting to be able to carry on that history and legacy between Sydney and Giants.”
Speaking of the Swans, the pair did battle in a practice match last Friday night, and Walker spoke very positively of how things went for the girls in orange. Just about the entire list played, and there were a number of different learnings but the Giants “came back to our DNA” and back to their game plan. Walker also spoke very highly of the efforts of both Emily Pease and Jasmine Grierson.
Heading into this week’s practise match against the Bulldogs, Walker said that the goals for the Giants are pretty similar to the ones they had against the Swans. The coaches are wanting to see that the Giants girls practise the game plan, stick to it and are able to back it up from last weekend against more established opponents.