Exciting times at Arden Street as North Melbourne-Tasmania’s coach Scott Gowans took his charges through their paces for the first time on Victorian soil.
One of two AFLW clubs to make their debuts next season, the Kangaroos will follow somewhat in the footsteps of the Adelaide Crows by having dual addresses to call home in 2019.
The former Carlton AFLW assistant and senior coach of Melbourne University’s VFLW side (aligned with North Melbourne since 2010) was infectiously upbeat in the brisk twilight.
“How exciting? Look around, it’s people everywhere...all the girls have smiles on their faces, we’re looking forward to getting into it.” Gowans said.
Having just returned from the decidedly colder and wetter Hobart where the Tasmanian based players and junior hopefuls took part in the first Apple Isle training sessions, Gowans recounted the experience.
“We did a few of the drills we’ll be doing here tonight. It was one of those sessions where you just try to get something out of it, due to the weather...but there’s some really talented kids down there.
“Alex [Veitch] went to Launceston and they had a really good session. It’s an exciting place and I’ll be heading down again in a couple of weeks.”
Despite the logistical challenges Tasmania presents, he is bullish on its opportunities for the club.
“There’s a lot underneath that people don’t see down there because they don’t go and look.
“Maybe another 10-15 girls could make a list, definitely at VFLW level.
“Obviously we can only fit so many on the list...[but] I think over the next 2-3 years we’ll easily work towards getting half the list there.”
Leading up to the preseason, Gowans says he had conveyed to his players the importance of living in the moment and how he sees their time together playing out before the opening bounce on February 3rd.
“Enjoy the moment...there’s only 48-50 hours on the track before Round 1, so the main focus is on how well we gel together and play as a team.”
While he is overwhelmingly positive about the prospect of leading a brand new side, Gowans admitted to nerves in the face taking on a senior position.
“There’s a little bit of trepidation there – I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. One thing I’ve got written on my desk is ‘Stay true to your values’, I’m big on wherever you coach if you stick to those values you’ll generally go OK.
Gowans feels that the lessons learned from coaching Diamond Creek and more directly Melbourne University will ultimately help forge a successful culture under his watch.
“Coming from Diamond Creek, I really enjoyed the environment...but Melbourne Uni’s a unique thing, with Laura Kane being president and manager of operations here it just has a nice synergy to it with grounds, facilities...the time I’m allowed to spend with Melbourne Uni VFLW.
“There’s also the next levels down with the VAFAW...hopefully over the next few years [that culture] should spread throughout the community.”
The Kangaroos will enter the AFLW with big expectations thanks to the signings of big names such as Emma Kearney, Moana Hope and Kaitlyn Ashmore alongside the latent strength of a proud footy state in Tasmania. With Scott Gowans at the helm and a budding culture built on strong foundations, these women will be hard to beat when they come out to play.