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Monday, June 27, 2022 - 11:10 AM

2022 saw the West Perth Football Club - the oldest, proudest WAFL club in Western Australia field a WAFLW side for the first time after successfully pushing for a license.

A large number of younger women were elevated from last years premiership Rogers Cup side in a bid to recreate the blueprint that had seen the female program hold up silverware less than 6 months earlier.

Backing in the talent which had gone through the Rogers Cup program over 2-3 years it was important that they’d play to their strengths around their general skill and ability to maintain possession.

Unfortunately, our youth although showing signs of significant improvement as the year progressed struggled to compete in the contest with the bigger, more experienced bodies/heads.

Our players took a development approach and used the opportunities to play against these more experienced personnel to engage with, learn from and watch intently to better their own craft. As athletes, it’s imperative that our players are consistently looking to be better. Afterall, we’re connected by red and blue and as custodians of the West Perth Football Club – we need to be the best we can be.

With our WAFLW League squad averaging our at 18.85 years of age, it’s been identified that a real injection of older, more experienced bodies is needed to help compliment our youth as they continue to develop but to also meet our own obligations to ensure a more competitive WAFLW competition moving forward.

Luke Richardson, Head of WAFLW Development has said that the club will endeavor to be bold and aggressive with it’s list management for the 2023 season:

We understand that 2022 hasn’t reflected the goals set out by our own program. What’s important is how we respond in moments of challenge and with the full support of the West Perth Football Club we will look to target individuals at both WAFLW level and Amateur League level to shape our list into one that can compete at the highest level and hunt for sustained success.

What I hope our members and supporters can see is that other clubs within the WAFLW competition have been in our position. I’m excited by the raw talent we have in our youth, who, when given the opportunity to continue to develop within an elite system like ours will flourish with more games under their belt and more experience on the football field.”

When we speak of developing youth, it’s hard not to look at our Rogers Cup program for 2022. Premiers in 2021, our squad saw significant change with the squad dropping from 18.2 in age demographic to 15.35.

Our squads’ ability to compete against 17-18yo’s and take wins against Claremont and Peel Thunder should breed great excitement in the future of our women’s program here at the West Perth Football Club.

Do we believe it is sustainable to continue to play such young women? Although this is where we are seeing talent come through, in order for us to progress our League Squad and the future of our women’s program, we will look to play older girls in 2023 to align with our own internal views and goals on how we can be better.

Both our Rogers Cup and WAFLW programs were incredibly well supported in the High-Performance Department with:

  • Megan Kauffman (Head of WAFLW Strength & Conditioning – Athletic Institute)
  • Giorgia Neill (Head of Rogers Strength & Conditioning – Athletic Institute)
  • Krystal McCluskey (Welfare & Wellbeing Coordinator – Athletic Institute)
  • Brendan Aitkens (Head Physiotherapist – Wanneroo Physiotherapy)
  • Matteo Bresciani (Head WAFLW Sports Trainer)
  • Georgia Giamov (Head Rogers Sports Trainer)
  • Breanna Entwistle (Sports Trainer)
  • Ben Ivankovic (Sports Trainer)
  • Amy Isobella (Sports Trainer)
  • Katelin Bertolami (Sports Trainer)
  • Jayden Mitchell (Sports Trainer)
  • Vanessa Tucek (Sports Trainer)

What this meant was our players were fully resourced to be the best they can be. Our injury list remained minimal throughout Season 2022 with credit to be given to the above people for their commitment and knowledge in this space to better prepare and rehabilitate our players.

We remain confident in our capacity for growth both on and off the field. We remain bullish about the potential of our existing list and of those we will look to target for season 2023. As custodians of the West Perth Football Club we have a job to do – And we are confident we will get this job done.