BRING on pre-season.
After getting the Carlton AFLW Senior Coach role over a month ago, it’s safe to say Mathew Buck has been hard at work in establishing and overseeing the program.
That will start to come to fruition next week, with the official commencement of pre-season leading into the 2023 AFLW campaign.
For Buck, the last few months has required a “deep dive” into all things Carlton and the AFLW landscape — and he’s excited to see that materialised in the coming weeks.
And it’ll look quite different to what the Game Changers have previously become accustomed to.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a month. Meeting all the players individually, getting to know them - after getting the role to start with - and then getting to work with planning moving forward and the pre-season start date coming really quickly,” Buck said on Credit to the Girls.
“We’ve attacked the schedule and spoken to the players about how we can mesh all that together to equal high performance. We’ll move to more of a daytime schedule to help support that.
“They’ve shaped their lives around football.”
In the wake of the Club’s AFLW review, the messaging from Carlton has been centred around the commitment to establish a high performance environment.
In Buck’s eyes, those first steps have been positive, with decision-makers particularly conscious of requirements surrounding what remains a part-time competition.
“Without player buy-in, it’s very difficult to do anything. Especially when we’re talking about part-time athletes: if they can’t buy into it because of a work or life commitment, that’s perfectly reasonable,” he said.
“We’re going on this journey together. I’m not going to demand with a stick and say ‘this is what we need to do’ . . . we’ll find a happy medium.
“We’ll have some flexibility around players at different times of the year to work around their work and study commitments. Overall, what I get from the group is that football is their number one: they want to be great footballers, and it’s about how we can help them do that.
“It’s exciting to see how far we can go down that path.”