Experienced midfielder Ellie Hampson says the work behind the scenes across the club has the SUNS AFLW squad primed to fire in Saturday’s Round 1 clash against north Melbourne in Tasmania.
Hampson, who has been promoted into the SUNS leadership group for Season 7 and is entering her fourth AFLW campaign, praised the off-field work ahead of all the on-field beginning in just a matter of days.
“Coming into season four as a club, we’ve put all the pieces together off field and sorted out a program that’s strong, can bring girls in and feed them out into a season if they’ve had one pre-season or four,” Hampson said.
“I think all the work staff have done behind the scenes has been huge for our program and sets us up very well for this season.”
Just 167 days will have passed come Saturday since the SUNS ended its last campaign – time that has been used wisely.
“Especially as a midfield group we’ve been able to develop together through the off-season, build some great relationships and that reflects on the field, the way we use the ball and the way we use each other,” Hampson added.
“We’re just very eager to get better, and that’s carried through (from last season). We’re a young group and we love to train, so to only have a little break and no time to go decline has been great for the group.”
SUNS fans will be excited by the prospect of a midfield group boasting names like Hampson, Charlie Rowbottom, Alison Drennan and Claudia Whitfort with the latter mirroring her teammates' sentiments on the prospect of putting all the pre-season work into practice this weekend.
“It’s really exciting times around the club,” Whitfort said.
“We’ve put in a mountain of work during pre-season so we’re really keen to get out on the track for Round 1.”
The 23-year-old added that while the SUNS have maintained its core unit of midfielders from Season Six, there’s been a focus throughout pre-season on how the group moves the ball forward.
“Last season we were very big on surge mentality, that method to go forward has really developed for us over pre-season.”