Adelaide’s AFLW side is refusing to rest on its laurels, quickly getting back to work ahead of Season Seven kicking off in late August.
It’s only been 72 days since the Crows triumphed over Melbourne in the Grand Final, but the side has returned focused and hungry for more success, according to the Club’s Head of Women’s Football Phil Harper.
Harper provided an update on how the team was tracking on this week’s episode of The Crows Show, after the players had their first pre-season hit-out last Saturday.
“It’s always the goal to win Premierships,” Harper said.
“Our girls have been terrific and as we know they’ve won three Premierships out of six years but what we haven’t been able to achieve is back-to-back.
“We’ve never been able to back it up - win it one year and win it the next - so that’ll be a driving force to try and win back-to-back.
“Before you start winning Premierships, you’ve got to make the finals so our first goal is to try and win six games, which will be enough to make the finals.”
Adelaide has retained or extended the contracts of 25 players from its Season Six squad, while also adding Niamh Kelly and Amber Ward following a trade with West Coast.
Harper said the strong culture within the AFLW squad, led by Captain Chelsea Randall, was the driving force behind keeping the players together.
“I spoke to the girls before training the other night and basically we were thanking them for staying loyal and staying with our Club,” Harper said.
“Every single player who’s here could’ve got more elsewhere but they want to stay together because culturally it’s a great group to be around and a pretty good footy place.
“Amber Ward is a local girl from North Adelaide and in fact her family was in the Crows’ supporter group, so it’s a great story.
“Niamh Kelly has got outstanding speed, which our coach loves, and she’s got great courage as well, so I think our supporters will really like Niamh as a player.”
August was slated as the new start date for the AFLW season, with a shift away from playing the competition in the middle of Australia’s scorching summers.
Season Seven will include all 18 teams and consist of ten home-and-away rounds, a four-week finals series, with the Grand Final to be hosted on the last weekend of November.
Harper said the Club was supportive of the change but was working through some challenges.
“We think that’s a better time for the competition in general,” Harper said.
“It might not be perfect for us today but one of the obvious things that happened to us was ‘Ok well if they’re going to start the season in August and we are going to be training in June/July, how are we going to train because we have no lights?’
“That has been a challenge, so the first six weeks we will train at Karen Rolton Oval, we’ll train at AFL Max on Wednesdays and then we’ll be training here on a Saturday morning so we’ve got some daylight.”
The AFLW Season Seven will start on the weekend of August 25.