Bernasconi reflects on the end of debut season

AS his debut season in charge of the GWS Giants came to an end on the weekend with a win over Gold Coast, Cam Bernasconi reflected on his first season in charge.

“I was wrapped the girls finished with a win today here at Henson Park,” he said. “I think it’s been an up and down season, but we’ve always talked about getting better and growth, and we’ve finished off our second half of the year three and two, which I think just shows that the group’s improved as a collective but also some individuals have had fantastic seasons. I’m just wrapped the girls get to sing the song one last time in Season 7.“

Despite the challenges of his maiden campaign at the helm, Bernasconi was able to put a positive spin on it.

“I think it’s been a season where you look at the injuries and you never want to use that card but when you do a list management meeting during the week and you see five or six of your starting players not playing,” he said. “It sucks in that sense but what it has done, it’s allowed our younger group to get more game time.

“We thought we drafted really well for Season 7, got in some of the best young talent in the country, and sometimes those girls don’t get to play regular footy until year two or three, but a lot of those have played every game, so it just shows the blessing that has come from that is that these girls have played regular AFLW footy and they’re at the level.

“They’re going to go up and down like every young player, but what’s really exciting now is that a lot of these players have played the brand that we want to continue to play and it’s been a season of growth and I think you look around the room and we just chatted about it then, is that our motivation and enjoyment hasn’t wavered, and I think that just shows we’re on the right track.”

Bernasconi also spoke glowingly of retiring stalwart Tanya Hetherington, who played her final game in the win.

“She is a fantastic person, not just a great servant as a player in this footy program but what she’s done for this young group off the field is even probably more important,” he said. “Her genuine care for others around her, and even in my first season as coach she’s helped me so much because her footy IQ is so good, and we just said that she deserves every bit of recognition she gets tonight and over the next couple of weeks, but I don’t think her journey with the Giants is finished.

“It might be as a player but the value she can add in a coaching sense and a leadership sense and a mentoring sense going forward, she’s still going to be an integral part of hopefully our footy department going forward for the next number of years.”

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