SUNS Media: Cam thanks for joining us and welcome to the Gold Coast. Can you give us a little bit of background on your coaching career?
Cameron Joyce: Thanks for having me. I’ve been involved in footy for the last 23 years at three AFL clubs and a couple of clubs through the talent pathway. The last 18 months I’ve been working down in Tasmania with the Under 19 NAB League Girls and Boys which has been a really good experience and then before that I’d been at North Melbourne, West Coast and Richmond prior to going down to Tasmania. So a long stint in football and I’m really excited to be with the SUNS.
SM: Did that stint in Tassie working with the boys and girls hold you in good stead for this role with the SUNS AFLW team?
CJ: Yeah definitely. I suppose some of my experience through the AFLW submission with North Melbourne, the creation of that team and also too into the girls in Tasmania and more recently with the Allies girls in Melbourne, I think a combination of all that holds me in good stead for the role.
SM: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as a coach - what your coaching style is and your philosophies?
CJ: Yeah I’m big on the players strengths, really concentrating on working on those and making sure that the girls really understand what they’re good at, promoting that, training that, putting them in a position where they can really use their strengths and then just providing enough structure for them to go out and play on the weekend.
SM: What are some of the reasons why you wanted to take on the role?
CJ: One – I really enjoyed the season that I had with the Tassie Devils girls. It sort of lit the fire a little bit in terms of coaching potentially at AFLW level. But also too I think with 14 girls I think there is under the age of 23, 24 on the list - I think there’s a lot of improvement left in the group but also too I think there’s enough experience at the other end too that some of those girls have only been playing for three or four years themselves, to really try and mix that age and experience together to see if we can go forward.
SM: That development piece is obviously one of your strengths across the multiple roles you’ve had – is that something you’re wanting to bring to the role as well?
CJ:I think there’s the individual piece in terms of development and then being able to put 30 individuals together and try and gel them together as a team to perform on the weekend. I think there’s a balance to both but certainly that development piece over the last few years has been prominent in terms of what I’ve been doing.
SM: You’ve relocated up to the Gold Coast now with the family, what are your thoughts so far?
CJ: We’ve been here almost a week now so just done the normal things of finding a house and a place for the kids to find a school and those sort of things. Just settling into the club and meeting as many people as I can. I’m really enjoying my time already and certainly enjoying being in the shorts and t-shirt, that’s for sure.
SM: You’ve had the chance to meet a lot of the girls now in person – what excites you most about the group we’ve got together?
CJ: I was fortunate – I spent a 30 minute Zoom session with all of them when I was down in Tassie before I came up here. I was really keen to do that so when I came up we could start at a bit more of an advanced level. Meeting a few of the girls face-to-face over the last week when they’ve been in at the club and just seeing how excited they are to get going I think is something that I’ve really noticed. I think off the back of last year I think it will spur them on again. Hopefully we can have a really good pre-season and hit the season hard.
SM: Have you set yourselves any goals as a coach or any goals for the team for next season?
CJ: I think the biggest one is just being able to see the improvement in both individuals and the team. I think sometimes that comes from your training and your environment but also too it comes from just some little wins in terms of the way we want to play and some of the statistics that might dovetail in behind that. That’s where I’m going to start in terms of goals for the year is just to see some real improvement in both individuals and the team.
SM: We’ve got the AFLW Draft coming up – how are the preparations going for that from your point of view?
CJ: We’ve got four picks in the draft and we’re looking to add both talent but also too just trying to find the right mix as you always do when you go into the draft. Whether that’s youth and experience but also too in just a few different roles so we’re just trying to find the balance to that. Nominations close Friday so we’ll get a good idea of who’s nominated where then and then we can go into the next phase of planning.
SM: The past couple of years we’ve had a lot of success with SUNS Academy graduates coming through the draft – are you hopeful that we’ll be able to see some more SUNS homegrown talent coming through?
CJ: Yeah definitely. We’ve spoken to a few of the girls and we’re pretty confident that there will be some SUNS Academy players on the list for season 2021/22.
SM: What do the next couple of months look like heading into pre-season?
CJ: We’ll start officially on September 1 and then with the season coming forward to the first week of December it will give us a three-month block to really focus in and probably again a bit of my terminology and a different style, different drills and those sort of things – just to try to bed that down and establish that over those three months for us to be ready to go that first week of December.
SM: And finally do you have a message to SUNS members and fans who are eagerly looking forward to watching the team play in this season coming up?
CJ: Yeah I think one is just making sure that you guys jump on board again for season 2021/22. I think again as I said before around that youth and experience, I think it showed last year that there were some girls playing their first and second seasons that did a really good job and I’m sure the fans will want to follow those girls’ careers with interest and whenever our first home game is and where the fixture allows, I hope we’ve got as many as we can at Metricon and try to make that a place for us to make a real fortress and be as successful as we can at home.
SM: Thanks for your time Cam