AFLW coach Cam Bernasconi says the foundations have been laid for the 2024 AFLW campaign following a successful two-month training block which saw the GIANTS unveil some exciting new talent as the club went undefeated in its return to the VFLW.

Re-introduced to the VFLW this year for the first time since 2019, the GIANTS finished unbeaten across their five matches from rounds 3-7 to get an invaluable jumpstart on their upcoming AFLW pre-season, starting in June.


“It was a really positive few months for the program,” Bernasconi said on Monday.

“We came back in March and had a really good training block with a really clear focus to work on our fundamentals and the physical components of our game.

“We focused on building a really strong foundation to start the season and the girls set a lot of ‘PBs’ [personal bests] in the gym and we really improved our fundamentals which allows us to really take a step forward and add a bit more detail when we start pre-season.

“Then the cherry on top was that we played five games and had really successful games in the VFLW which was really enjoyable.”

Bernasconi said another benefit of the VFLW stint was allowing the club’s host of fresh faces to settle into their new surroundings.

“We brought in eight new players this year so the ability to have them come in and play 20 quarters before we start official pre-season in June is a massive advantage to us,” he said.

“The girls can now understand how we want to play as a team, they can understand their role a little bit more, but more importantly it helps them become more comfortable.

“Now when they walk through the doors in that first week of June, they won’t be ultra-nervous anymore - they’ll know the coaches, they’ll know the players, and really feel comfortable and [hopefully] have a really strong pre-season.

“Every [new] player that’s come in has really shown why we want them in the orange and charcoal. They’ve all had a really good couple of months, and you can really see they can flourish in this system.”

Turning his attention to slightly more established GIANTS, the third-year head coach pointed to two youngsters as ones to watch for the 2024 AFLW season after starring on the track.

“There’s a few of them that have really stood forward, but there’s probably two that come to mind straight away and that’s Madi Brazendale and Cambridge McCormick,” he said.

“They are two players I think we will see take a big step forward and they’ll play crucial parts in the way that we want to play.

“They’re coming into their third season as well, so, similar to myself, you get a bit more comfortable and work out what works and what doesn’t.

“‘Cambo’ [McCormick] is a hybrid defender that can intercept and defend really well and then Madi Brazendale broke our time trial record two weeks ago and I think she’s going to take the competition by storm on the wing running up and down - which is really exciting.”

Another impressing Bernasconi is recent draftee Kaitlyn Srhoj, who the GIANTS took with pick three in last year’s AFLW Draft following the gun midfielder’s starring season with Peel Thunder in the WAFL, as well as her dominant form for Western Australia in the Under-18 National Championships.

“She’s a ripper,” he said.

“From her first [VFLW} game to game five, she had immense growth.

“She’s a pleasure to coach and I know the girls have wrapped their arms around her and I think she’s going to be a really important player for us for years to come, but even straight away this season.

“She was our only player that attended and completed every single session and the fact she can stay fit and healthy to do that is really pleasing.”

The GIANTS’ AFLW list will now complete home programs over the next four weeks before returning to the club for the official start of AFLW pre-season in early June.