Buoyant Bohanna excited about what might be in 2023

SPURRED on by the frustration of how Season 7 ended, Gold Coast captain Tara Bohanna is excited by the potential the new AFL Women’s season brings.

Bohanna noted that Season 7 – where the Suns just missed out on finals was rough.

“I don’t think we were going to make it anyway but even just that Round 10 loss, just finishing off the season strong would have been nice,” she said. “But it’s means for this season our aim is absolutely finals and finishing in the top eight, that’s the only way up I suppose. Finishing ninth means the only way up is eighth so hopefully we can do that. I feel like we’ve got the right group to be able to do that, so we’ll see how we go.”

Bohanna said that contested ball was where the Suns need to target in order to make that last jump and into finals.

“So I think we’ve really worked on our contested ball this year, winning the actual contest,” she said. “I think the next step for us now is getting it into the forward line and making sure it’s good entries and that we compete hard at every contest. Probably just more the skill execution from when we have the ball and making sure we’re hitting those targets.”

Moving on to the season that is to come, and Bohanna is feeling like things are more natural for her now after a whirlwind few years in the AFLW system.

“I think I feel a lot more comfortable,” she said. “It’s still weird coming to days like this where it’s ‘oh I am actually a captain’. It’s strange, especially because of how it all has happened, but as I said I feel blessed to be able to do it, and I feel like I am definitely becoming more comfortable every season, We belong here and I belong actually playing AFLW so really excited for the year ahead.”

She also confirmed preseason had gone well at the Suns.

“We had a bit of a longer preseason this time, so it meant we could get right into it rather than having a quick offseason like we did last time,” she said. “So I feel like we’re pretty prepared, I feel like we’re ready to go.”

She spoke glowingly of the new faces at the Suns – of which there are eight – and what they may add to the team this season.

“Obviously we’ve got Jordan Membrey from Collingwood and Maddy Branc from Richmond, and we’ve got three Irish girls as well,” she said. “We’ve had Meara Girvan come from South Australia, a few draftees like Darcie Davies, so it’s just really exciting.

“The Irish girls probably bring an element of difference, Niamh McLaughlin even played on Courtney Hodder on the weekend and did a really good job and that was only her second game of football so she can do that and her speed off the ball is pretty insane, so really exciting to see. We’ve got Ella Maurer who’s come from North as well and she’s another extra into the midfield that will help compete there and make it a challenge for the Charlies [and others] who are in there pretty consistently.

“So it’ll be really good to see how everyone goes, but I think we’ve got a great group of girls who have brought really good things for our culture as well, not just footy skills, but actually their own actual personalities. They’re just ripper people.”

Gold Coast gets its campaign underway on Saturday when they take on Carlton in Melbourne.

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