HOW DO you rebuild after a winless season?
It's the daunting task facing new Gold Coast coach Cameron Joyce, who took over from David Lake after the Suns were unable to secure any points from nine games in 2021.
"It's one of the things that attracted me to the role, the challenge of it and to be able to grab hold of something where the girls have only been playing for two years in a competition that's been going for five," Joyce told womens.afl.
"There are certainly opportunities for us, so I'm really keen to see what we can do over the next period of time and start making inroads into the competition.
"Our focus will be around that path and continuous improvement through high performance, that's what we're looking to and striving for in the program. We're on the path and continuum of that."
While it's impossible to erase the gap of three or so pre-seasons with the foundation AFLW clubs overnight, the Suns' coaching staff are keen to make as much headway as possible in order to bounce back from the 14th place finishing.
"The skills and the fitness piece – trying to get some wins for us in those areas throughout the pre-season," Joyce said.
EVERY CLUB’S LIST Your squad for the 2022 season
"Other clubs are going to be very similar I imagine, but certainly putting some structure and accountability around that, to try and shift the dial for us in those two areas, is going to be very important for us in the next few months."
The 2022 NAB AFLW season was initially due to start in early December, but the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales and Victoria has pushed back round one to January 6.
It's come as a blessing in disguise for the Suns, who had a handful of serious injuries to key players at the end of the 2021 season (Jamie Stanton ankle, Sarah Perkins MCL, Jacqui Yorston ACL).
"We're chipping away at our rehab squad. There have been a few from last season and a few other little niggles that have come out of QAFLW and VFLW," Joyce said.
"We were very happy to get going (in December), but we were also very happy to give those girls some extra time. We'll be filtering a few players back in the next week or two and gearing up to have a pretty good bill of health over the next month or six weeks."