Coaching drummer set to become Demon conductor in 2024

THE Casey Demons are one of a number of VFLW sides with a new coach at the helm this season, with Melbourne AFLW assistant Matt Brewer stepping up into the role.

However, it was initially not a role he was going to go for.

“This is something I probably wasn’t aspiring to be,” he said

“With my coaching career I just feel like if I’m a band then I’m a drummer in the back ground just putting down a beat,” he said.

“I just sort of got prodded into just having a think about it, and over the last five years even watching my daughter play and now in the Coates Talent League, the way the women have come along leaps and bounds, I thought ‘why not go for it?’ and try and put my little spin on women’s football and how I think women’s football should be played. I just wanted to see how my game style would suit to women’s football and hopefully these girls, they’ve taken to it and it’s a bit of fun when it comes off.”

He noted that it is not easy to have a role in both the AFLW and VFLW program.

“Absolutely. Not just that, family and I work full time as well, so it’s a massive juggling act,” he said. “If you want to pursue your footy career something has to give, and the sacrifice you have to make, especially with my work, when AFLW starts I have to go back down to a casual role just to try and fit everything in because the girls are getting more and more full time, more and more during the day.

“So it is a struggle to grind, you’ve got to have good support around you to help you out, and I have my teenage daughters and my wife with some great support from my family to make it all work.”

Looking ahead to this season, Brewer said that preseason had been going well.

“It’s been good,” he said. “The girls have adapted to a new style of play this year, so over the last 13 weeks we’ve been trying to adhere to what I’m after, but it’s been a solid 13 weeks since I’ve been here. The girls have been going well.”

Brewer said that plenty of the new faces had impressed him on the track, including young stars Lauren Jatczak and Olivia Morris and former AFLW players Meg Macdonald and Sophie Casey.

They are not the only new faces at Casey Fields this season, with former AFLW Pie Joanna Lin joining the red and blue, and former club captain Samantha Johnson returning after a stint at Melbourne in the AFLW.

Brewer noted that the girls that had been delisted from the AFLW and come to Casey “have really set the standard for us this year in terms of our standards and what we want to do at training.”

2023 was not a great year for Casey, finishing towards the bottom of the ladder, but Brewer said that the team’s new ladder will be the way to turn that around.

“I think last year was a lot of contest work, this year we’re trying to open up the game a little bit more, try a bit more free flowing footy, a lot more speed on the ball,” he said. “So we’re trying to move the ball in a different way and try and score and on the flipside if we don’t get it right we can get scored heavily against, so it’s a fine balancing act at the moment to try and get that balance right.”

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