New coach, players, gameplan: Giant changes in flag quest

GREATER Western Sydney won't just have a new coach at the helm in the upcoming NAB AFLW season, there'll be a whole new gameplan on show, too.

The Giants have never won more than four games in a season, topping out at that number for the past three years.

The club parted ways with coach Alan McConnell (who had held the reins since 2018) and brought in Cam Bernasconi, while they have also introduced nine fresh faces to the squad, one of which is returning player Jodie Hicks.

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"Cam's hit the ground running. It's been a lot of building on the foundations Al McConnell had already built within the squad we had, but it's been with Cam's little flavour in it," GWS skipper Alicia Eva told

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"He's very strengths-based, he's a young coach, he likes everyone to bring their own flair and personality. I think that's what we're very much seeing. We've got a great cohort of the old mix but having some fresh faces in there has been fantastic."

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Eva wasn't beating around the bush when discussing where GWS needs to improve to make the jump back up into finals, with 40-year-old spearhead Cora Staunton having kicked 41 per cent of the team's goals last season.

The Giants have always relied on Staunton (having sat around 30 per cent for the 2020 and 2021 seasons), but never to the extent that 2022 produced.

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"We need to score more. We're not afraid to put that out into the world, we don't kick enough goals, we rely on pretty much Cora to kick our goals," Eva said.

"We know we have goalkickers in our team, but we don't move the ball efficiently or effectively enough to be able to give those players opportunities.

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"All football battles are started in the midfield, so we need to make sure we're winning the contested ball, changing the way we move the ball, so that's a big focus of our pre-season."

Eva herself could be set for a slightly different role, with the likes of draftee Zarlie Goldsworthy and a fully fit Bec Beeson and Chloe Dalton set to line up alongside Alyce Parker in the middle.

Greater Western Sydney's Alicia Eva, Zarlie Goldsworthy and Cam Bernasconi at the 2022 AFLW Draft.

"We’re looking quite different right across the park, quite versatile, and it'll allow some older players like myself to see how we go in different roles. Who knows, maybe [I'll play] a bit of inside, outside and forward," she said.

"'Bern' is very strengths based, he wants every player to bring their weapons. Right now, you look at our girls who have been together for the past five years, we're very clear on what our weapons are.

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"We just need to showcase them more and move the footy in a way that brings everyone and everyone's strengths into the game. A bit more dynamic and hopefully we'll hit the scoreboard a bit more."


  • "Zarlie Goldsworthy was our first pick, she's an inside bull. I think most people will liken her to an Alyce Parker-style player, so if we've got two of them, that's fantastic."
  • "Fleur Davies is a ruck who's come down from the Gold Coast Academy, so she's hit the ground running too. We know we're short on ruck stocks, if that makes sense, so it was fantastic to get Fleur down from the Gold Coast and she's been brilliant thus far."
  • "We've got a couple of younger girls in Zara Hamilton and Tess Cattle from the Riverina region, we're really excited to have them join us."
  • "Jodie Hicks is back on the list, and Cambridge McCormick from Canberra, an athetic-style ruck."
  • "Meghan Gaffney and Mads 'Braz' (Brazendale), speed from Tassie who have come up to Sydney."