The Calder Cannons are again looking to have a strong side as the second TAC Cup girl’s season gets under way this weekend.
The Cannons had a brilliant first season, claiming a premiership on the back of an undefeated season and having three players drafted to AFLW.
This year they’ve retained a lot of premiership players and added some more young talent.
New coach Paul Tilley said it would be interesting to see how they backed up this year.
“We had some outstanding players and [Chloe] Molloy, [Monique] Conti and [Sarah] Dargan were all drafted,” he said.
“We’ve got some good quality players that are stepping up this year.
“I think the program that was set up with Alicia Eva, Pauline [Leslie] and Kytey [Ian Kyte], is so we have some flow for the next few years and have some pretty good footballers coming through.”
Tilley said the girls were excited to take to the field in an expanded competition of nine rounds.
“It’s really refreshing to have them. It’s not sheep station stuff, it’s not the be all and end all of it.”
He said there could be several Cannons players among the mix come draft time again this year, including a few surprise packets.
The Cannons have three players in the AFL Academy, which identifies the top talent in the country.
Madison Prespakis and Molly Warburton are both considered possible draftees this year, while Georgia Patrikios is also in the academy as one of the best 16-year-olds.
“With women’s football and expansion of the new teams, there’s opportunities for a lot of girls to get drafted,” Tilley said.
“They have to have a bit of luck and present when they need to.”
Tilley replaced Alicia Eva as coach, with Eva moving to Sydney to play for Greater Western Sydney in the AFLW.
He said it was an easy decision to put his hand up for the role this season after helping out with the side last year.
“It’s so different coaching the girls,” he said.
“You’re learning every day. The Cannons have had a girls program for quite a while, so they know a lot about it and I rely a lot on them.
“There is an advantage being here last year.”
The Cannons start their season on Sunday against Murray Bushrangers in Yarrawonga.
Tilley said while development of the girls is the main focus this year, getting a few wins on the board would be good.
“I think everyone wants to win and even though it’s not our main aim I would still like to see the girls win and perform well enough to win.
“I wouldn’t mind having another crack [at the final] for the girls’ sake. The further you go the more attention people pay to them and look at them.”