Michael Prior is laying a solid foundation for the AFLW squad after taking the reigns from former senior coach Daniel Pratt.
Maintaining a seamless transition between the pair, Prior has only made minor ‘tweaks’ to last year’s game plan, which have translated well across match simulation and skills work this pre-season.
Now Prior is poised to bring these changes onto the field in West Coast’s first match of the 2022 season, against reigning premiers, Brisbane, at Mineral Resources Park.
“I think what we’ve been able to embed in terms of our game plan – although it’s taken a little while and there are a few little tweaks we’ve made this year – the girls have come and handled it really well and put their best foot forward,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the constant rate of improvement within the group, I think they’ve put in the work both off the field and then on the field, in terms of their knowledge and their understanding of our game plans.
“So looking to see if we can translate those little things into game scenarios when the pressure’s on and whether they help us get over the line.
“I feel like we’re in a really good position and poised to take on the season, and improve on what we’ve done in the past.”
Opportunistic about the season that lies ahead, Prior explains the basis for growth within the group comes from reliance on basic football fundamentals and game plan, as well as contest work and composure under pressure.
Prior also hopes the off-field bond between the group will convert into matches this year.
“A lot of teams that I’ve been involved in in the past, it definitely has a direct correlation,” he said.
“A strong knit group off the field, translates to what they’re able to produce on the field.
“And I hope that’s the case, because what I see with our group is they’ve got a really strong bond off of the field, and they spend a lot of time together which is fantastic.
“They know the ins and outs of each other and that can only go well to helping them perform on field.”
The team now enter the tail end of December – with a week to go until round one – and Prior believes the gradual build of intensity and effort has been the right mix as the team head into matches.
“We need to be at that point of intensity – we think we’ve reached that point now – we just need to maintain it through the year,” he said.
“I’m seeing a lot of upside to the group, a lot of promising signs, just the little gains and the willingness of individuals to improve has been really impressive.
“The thing with any team, really, is being able to keep your good players on the park for as long as possible, so if we can maintain that, we’ll be a really good show to improve on what we’ve done in the past, and we hope that’s the case in season ’22.”