IT HAS been a busy few weeks for newly appointed Greater Western Sydney head coach Cam Bernasconi.
Moving into the top job less than two months ago, the uncertainty around AFLW season seven, and the speed at which everything has moved since the recent CBA was ticked off, has been a baptism by fire for the inaugural Giant.
"Honestly, I wouldn't be this comfortable in the role if it wasn't for Bri Harvey," Bernasconi told womens.afl of the club's Head of Women's Football.
"She's just an absolute star and she's such an efficient operator, but just has genuine care for the staff and players, which I think is so important from the top down."
Bernasconi also namechecks assistant coach and former Sydney men's player Lloyd Perris as key to his team.
"I just think he's one of the best up and coming coaches," he said.
That close team dynamic has been vital, as added to the uncertainty, quick turnaround and settling into a new role is the addition of the Sydney Swans to the AFLW competition.
For the first time since the League began, NSW is a two-team town, which presents new challenges when it comes to list management.
While he credits Harvey as doing an "unbelievable job" of retaining the club's top end players from expansion, citing the likes of Alyce Parker, Chloe Dalton, and Alicia Eva, Bernasconi is still very realistic of where his list sits.
💬 "I'm really optimistic, there's some serious talent on our playing list."— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) April 13, 2022
Cam Bernasconi speaks to GIANTS TV following his appointment as the GIANTS' new AFL Women's coach. pic.twitter.com/cAO8J3lA5B
The Giants have been the oldest list in the competition for a number of years, so a key focus for the incoming coach is to look to youth and develop an even list which can enjoy sustained success. His pathway through the club's talent pathway programs—both with girls and boy's streams—makes Bernasconi better equipped than most to develop a young list with a focus on fundamental skills and an even spread.
"I think if everything goes to plan, and we can get the picks that we want it'll be a really nice spread of lots of youth — more youth than previously," Bernasconi said.
"We can really develop talent in this program and if we can capture the best talent and then invest into them, then the return is going to be, we'll have really good side in the next few years and having hopefully sustained success with a mixture of a couple of mature age players in our backyard that have played really good footy at local level."
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But it all comes back to the environment in which players are learning, and this is something that Bernasconi is big on.
"I'm still a young coach and recently out of the game playing, so I have that empathy for the players and understand that there's no perfect player, and there's no perfect game. I bring in a mentality of trying to eliminate fear of failure in the way they play their football," he said.
If there is anything to expect of the Giants in AFLW season seven, it's a willingness to take risks on the field. While those risks won't always come off, the dare to try will be evident.