McKenzie Dowrick says West Coast has a secret weapon that will help them take it up to the competition’s best teams in 2020: Unity.
They might have only hit the training track together for the first time last Monday, but the Eagles have already forged a strong bond off the field, according to the 19-year-old.
Dowrick said the group had galvanised its ties during social catch-ups and voluntary training sessions in the lead up to the pre-season proper.
“We’ve been working on building that team cohesion and learning how everyone operates,” Dowrick said.
“We had a get together a few weekends back and it was just great to have everyone there.
“We had a nice, friendly competition of Spikeball and the other night we went out to dinner and there was a really good vibe.
“Everyone talks to each other, they get along really well and when you spot someone in the halls they always say hello and strike up a conversation.
“They’re little things, but they mean a lot and I think it’ll hold us in good stead when games roll around.”
Now that the team has hit the track in an official capacity, Dowrick is focused on taking her game to another level.
The Kalgoorlie product made seven AFLW appearances for Brisbane last year, but she knows that won’t guarantee her a spot in West Coast’s round one team.
That’s why Dowrick has set herself some specific pre-season goals that she hopes will improve her ability to impact games for longer in 2020.
“A major focus of mine heading into this year is my fitness,” Dowrick said.
“If I’m fitter I’ll be able to execute my skills better throughout games, especially under fatigue. Being fit helps everything else.
“I also want to improve my off-field stuff, like my recovery and diet – just learning to become a better athlete.
“Working at the club (Dowrick is an AFL Sportsready Trainee) definitely helps.
“Having access to the facilities, like the gym and the pool, helps with extra recovery.
"I also have access to (senior coach) Luke Dwyer, (strength and conditioning coordinator) Alivia Del Basso and (head of female football) Adam Selwood all the time.
“It’s convenient when I have a quick question that’s training related.”
Dowrick has been impressed with Maddy Collier's form on the training track so far this pre-season
The skilful defender also has plenty of new teammates to bounce ideas off.
Dowrick said former GWS forward Maddy Collier had been a source of inspiration on the training track so far.
“I’ve been really impressed with Maddy,” Dowrick said.
“Just seeing her work rate and how much she puts into everything she does is motivating.
“When she’s on the track she goes hard.
"I’ll be trying to keep up with her the next couple of months.”