Coachs Column Rd 16

Our final challenge

23.08.19 14:38

It’s hard to believe our final game is upon us already. Whilst it is very disappointing not to make finals this year, this special group should be extremely proud of their achievements this season. I feel very honoured and privileged to have led this group and I believe that the foundation has been set for a strong 2020 season moving forward.

Our ThunderW team has had an up and down season with highlights and challenges aplenty. We had a strong start to the season knocking off top six clubs Hawthorn and Saints early and who could forget our Round 9 come from behind win in the dying minutes against Carlton at home. This game instilled plenty of belief in the group and demonstrated a never say die attitude that stuck with our players week in week out. 

Disappointing loses to Darebin and Williamstown in the middle of the season really impacted our chances of making finals but the girls were willing to put in the hard yards to be better each week and give ourselves every opportunity to make top 6. Unfortunately, we were hit hard with season ending injuries to four of our key players, which meant our list was really tested but on the flipside, also resulted in many of our players on our primary list making their VFLW debut this year. This sort of exposure will only strengthen our group as they now understand the demands of football at a higher level.

A great news story of 2019 was the recognition of young key defender Tayla Thorn’s talent and hard work in the Thunder colours being rewarded with a spot on the GC Suns AFLW list for 2020. This is a real testatment to Tayla and the entire group being willing to challenge each other to get the best out of each other. Tayla has shown great resilience this year to come back after being delisted and it really does show all of our players that if you are willing to work hard and tackle setbacks as an opportunity for growth and learning the rewards will come.

I have been equally impressed with our experienced players standing up and modelling high standards on and off the field. Kristy Irvine, Lisa Roberts and Katie Streader have had outstanding seasons and are fantastic role models for our younger brigade. We have an exceptionally talented group of young players who have had the opportunity to play multiple games of VFLW and have held their own at this level, which is very pleasing as they are the future of our ThunderW program. It would be remiss of me not to mention the unbelievable balancing acts some of these players manage with school,uni and work commitments as well as looking after families of their own. I am inspired each week by these amazing women who give so much back to the sport and have a real passion for not only playing our great game but also developing our NT talent.

This weekend we have the ability to impact the final top six standings as Melbourne Uni must win to retain sixth spot, whilst Geelong will look on with vested interest hoping we win and help them jump into finals. We would love to finish on a high to round out a challenging month of travel. 

We have been building over the past couple of rounds and I know the girls will leave nothing out there on the park as they are desperate for a win. I cannot fault our intent and effort over the season so now it is time to take our game to the next level and ensure we dictate the terms and play our style of footy utilising our weapons across the ground. Let’s finish off 2019 with a bang!

Go Thunder!