The GIANTS will take part in the VFLW for the first time since 2019 when the club takes on Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday at 2pm.

In a change to the Rebel VFLW fixture for season 2024, both the GIANTS and the Swans have been added to the competition for part of the season, with each side to play five matches from rounds 3-7 against other VFLW clubs.

The five matches will be played with premiership points on the line for the competing VFLW clubs.

The GIANTS’ VFLW squad is comprised of 26 members of the GIANTS’ AFLW playing list plus up to 15 train-on players from the GIANTS Female Academy as well as high-end talent from local community football.

Ahead of the VFLW season opener, we sat down with GIANTS AFLW head coach Cam Bernasconi, who will drive the club’s VFLW program alongside his AFLW assistant coaches.

Entering his third season as head coach of the women’s program, Bernasconi says he’s taking the GIANTS’ inclusion in the VFLW as an exciting opportunity to better prepare his side for the AFLW season starting in September.


“Our focus is about building a strong foundation to set us up for [AFLW] season 2024,” Bernasconi said.

“The way we are looking at it is that we get 20 quarters where we can play against opposition before the official AFLW pre-season.

“That provides us a great opportunity to play our system, for players to learn new roles, and for players to bring their weapons and see where they are at earlier in the piece instead of waiting until August to see where they’re tracking. You get a bit of a stocktake in April of where everyone is at, so it’s really exciting.

“Overall, we look at it as an opportunity to have 20 quarters to play our way, learn our system, players to learn new roles and bring their weapons, and see the head start we can get.

“Usually when you come into pre-season you’re focusing on your methods and attack and defence, but before we even get into pre-season in June, we now get an opportunity to really get a strong foundation with our fundamentals and our basic skills.

“I think that’s a big improvement for us from last year,” he added.

“Our fundamentals let us down last year and then we couldn’t always execute our system from that, so that’s a big focus for us.

“Then on top of that there’s the physical component. We’ve got the youngest list in the AFLW, so we’ve got to really value our high-performance habits around the gym and nutrition.

“So that’s our big thing for VFLW, we get an opportunity to train our fundamentals and our physical component, and then hopefully we can see it in [AFLW] games faster.”


With a squad of over 40 girls to pick from for the 21 spots each week, Bernasconi said he’ll look to balance the workload across his more senior players while aiming to give the younger players as much opportunity as possible to learn through genuine game repetitions.

“Dependent on a healthy list, we’ll look to get two to three games into some of our more experienced players and then there’ll be a number of younger players who we’ll look to play every game to fast-track their development,” he said.

“We’ll play between 10-15 AFLW girls each week, so then there’ll always be five to six train-ons through the VFLW train-on program or through our Academy.

‘This weekend we’ll have four Academy players who have been performing really well, then we’ll have six VFLW train-on players from across community football, and then the rest [11 players] will be AFLW girls.”


“I think Cambridge McCormick is definitely one to watch,” Bernasconi said.

“She’s one that has taken a big step already in her pre-season and has been training the house down. I’m really excited to see what she can do over the next month as I think she’s a player that’s going to take a real step up this year.

“She’s a real hybrid defender that can defend but also attack and she’s someone that looks set for a big year.”


“Summer Hall is an athletic type that suits the Orange Tsunami,” Bernasconi said.

“She’s got speed and she’s quite exciting to watch. She’s a half-back that we’ve really liked - I think she’s got something.”

NEW GAFLW RECRUIT TO WATCH: Eilish O’Dowd (Irish rookie)

“For a player that has never played before and didn’t know much about our game, she’s had some moments in match play that have really stood out and it’s exciting to think what she’s going to be in another five months before AFLW round one, she’s been awesome,” Bernasconi said.

“It’s great that she gets five VFLW games to learn the game, better now in April than in September, and we’ll look to probably play her as a ruck and as an extra midfielder which is exciting.

“She’s a real competitor and she picks up the game really easily and she’s been really coachable.

“Her ability to implement one to two things each session has been really exciting, and her running capability is a huge asset. In her first session at the club, she tied our ‘GIANT Mile’ time trial record and so she’s set the tone from the beginning.”


“There’s a real positive energy in the air,” Bernasconi said.

“We’ve injected eight new AFLW-listed players and six train-on players, so half the squad is new and that brings a real fresh energy. I think our senior players have really enjoyed the breath of fresh air with the new faces and it’s also been good for their development to lead and teach this new group.

“We are still relatively new in our game plan, so it’s really good for our senior players who have known the game plan for two years to be teaching the game plan to others.

“It’s a really good vibe at the moment and it’s a great opportunity for us to go out and have a crack and see where we go without that pressure [that comes with AFLW]. “


“They had a good win to start the season and they’ve just come off a loss to North Melbourne and to me, they’re a side I think will be similar to us. There’ll be a lot of AFLW talent out there and they’ll be looking to play the Carlton brand,” Bernasconi said.

“I think they’ve been rolling out eight to 10 AFLW players each week so it’ll be similar to us as we’ll roll out a similar set-up.

“We’re just excited to get out there and start laying those foundations to get us a head start on the AFLW season.”

While Bernasconi will lead the VFLW program from Monday to Friday, he’ll hand over the reins to his AFLW assistant coaches on game days across the five rounds to further their development, with assistant coach Jon Vlatko to be given the head coaching duties for the clash with the Blues on Saturday.


VFLW Round 3
Blues v GIANTS
Saturday, April 6 at 2pm EDT
Ikon Park | Wurundjeri

GIANTS 2024 VFLW list: 

AFLW Listed Players

Rebecca Beeson
Annise Bradfield
Madison Brazendale
Chloe Dalton
Fleur Davies
Jessica Doyle
Alicia Eva
Tarni Evans
Zarlie Goldsworthy
Georgia Garnett
Isabel Huntington
Indigo Line*
Cambridge McCormick
Caitlin Miller
Courtney Murphy*
Aliesha Newman*
Eilish O'Dowd*
Alyce Parker
Mikayla Pauga*
Emily Pease
Pepa Randall
Claire Ransom*
Katherine Smith
Kaitlyn Srhoj*
Daisy Walker*
Haneen Zreika

*New players to the GIANTS in 2024

VFLW Train-on List:

Zoe Hurrell - North Shore Bombers
Olivia Edwards - North Shore Bombers
Grace Buchan - Griffith Swans
Sophie Kavanagh - Parramatta Goannas
Caitlin Fletcher - Parramatta Goannas
Summer Hall - East Coast Eagles
Teagan Germech - East Coast Eagles
Sophia De Castella - Ainsle Football Club, GIANTS Academy
Megan Misfud - Parramatta Goannas, GIANTS Academy
Ava Barraclough - North Shore Bombers, GIANTS Academy
Ashley Patton - Tuggeranong Valley AFNC, GIANTS Academy
Timeka Rourke - Leeton Crows, GIANTS Academy
Bridget Corcoran - East Coast Eagles, GIANTS Academy
Charlotte Canavan - Ainslie Football Club, GIANTS Academy
Amelie Prosser-Shaw - East Coast Eagles, GIANTS Academy