AFLW Head Coach Craig Starcevich has told the Roar Deal podcast that the Club was determined to retain its core squad ahead of the 2022 NAB AFLW Season 7.
Dialling in from his home in Basel, Switzerland last week, Starcevich admitted that there had been plenty of international calls at all hours to players back in Australia to ensure they remained Lions through the expansion, and sign and trade periods.
“Lots and lots of phone calls,” Starcevich said.
“There was a lot of work that we had to do [to retain players], no doubt about it.
“We were desperate to keep this squad that we’ve now built up over three or four years that we think is pretty strong and ready to compete again. You’ll do anything to try and hold onto those people.
“It’s been challenging but at the end of the day, particularly the ones that made the All-Australian team; Emily [Bates], Nat [Grider], Orla [O’Dwyer], and Greta [Bodey] who was in the squad, they were the ones who were targeted really heavily.
“At the end of the day, they all came back saying how much they love the team and love the Club.
“They know that we’ve got a strong team and they want to keep the band together for a few more years yet, so that was the most pleasing thing.”
And keeping the band together, they did.
A total of 27 players re-signed as Lions for the 2022 NAB AFLW Season 7, with the remaining list places will be filled in next Wednesday’s NAB AFLW Draft.
With next week’s new recruits set to jump straight into pre-season, the new squad members won’t need to wait too long to meet their Head Coach.
“I’m back at the start of week four, basically the first session after the draft,”
“The girls are going through all their building and prep stage at the moment, getting some testing and basic skill done, so I’ll rejoin them for pre-season at the beginning of July.”