AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: Sydney
IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.
First under the microscope is Sydney, who despite not picking up a win this season, can still take away some positives.
GLASS HALF FULL
It may seem like simple positive to take from a full season of football, but merely existing is something each expansion side can take stock in.
The Swans’ formation has given a whole new group of young kids 30 extra role models, and has already brought so much positivity to the Sydney community and fan base this season, despite the results.
This is such a solid base to build on for next year and if the positivity and buzz around the team is already there after a season like they had in Season 7, imagine how much that is going to grow when the wins start coming.
To put it simply, Sydney could not have prized a much better coach than Scott Gowans.
Even before the season started, the Swans mentor evoked a feeling of confidence and certainty in his approach.
He seemed to know exactly what he was doing right from the get go, and with more time to gel, his plans will surely start to come together nicely.
Although the Swans have struggled on-field this season, one shining light has been young star Montana Ham, the number one pick out of this year’s draft.
The 18-year-old had one hell of an introduction to the AFLW, but still managed to be an absolute star in her debut season. The key for the Swans next year will be to have more players rise to a similar level to Ham, creating a greater quality of depth across the field.
Alongside having the right man in charge on-field, the structures Sydney put in place around the team is also superb. Even club CEO Tom Harley was seen on the boundary line with the headset on and helping out on gameday.
No other CEO has done that, so it is clear how much the Swans want this team and how much they want it to succeed.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Long way back
The unfortunate thing for the Swans is that for a lot of reasons, many out of their own control, they are a long way back as compared to the rest of the competition.
The question moving forward will be one of how they close that gap. It certainly will not be easy.
Lack of star power
One obvious flaws with Sydney’s side this season was its lack of star power.
The fact the Swans could not land that big fish was partially out of their control, but it still an issue that can certainly be addressed ahead of next season. The coups of Ham and Sofia Hurley are strong examples of the club’s potential pulling power.
Keeping the faith
After a hard season like the Swans have had where the wins have not come, it can be demoralising on the playing the group. The question will be about how Gowans and the rest of the Swans coaching team keep the faith instilled in their players that things will turn around in coming seasons.
Sydney Talent Pool
For a long time the talent pool in Sydney has not been at the level of other states, which is why it was so crucial the Swans convinced the likes of Ham and Hurley to nominate for the NSW zone come draft time.
To try and catch up to the rest of the competition, the Swans have to keep making moves like that and entice players from other states to come to the Harbour City, or take great strides in continuing to develop the region’s talent pathway.
Overall, there are foundations there for the Swans to build on, but there is a lot to fix moving forward for those in red and white. It will not be easy, but they have the right people in place and now have enough time to make those changes necessary.