NEARING the end of a pre-season marked by Zoom calls and remote working, VFLW senior coach Luke O’Shannessy is excited for season 2021 to commence.

A pre-season unlike any before it has meant the group has had to get creative when it comes to training and team building.

“That was the big focus pre-Christmas, getting to know each other,” O’Shannessy said.

“We started off with a with a sizeable list and so it was just a matter of working out who's going to feature in the main squad for the season proper. So far the focus has really been on bonding and connection.

“The skills and the game plan and that stuff sort of takes care of itself in the new year.”

After a year without a VFLW competition, O’Shannessy is ready for his team to have the opportunity to play again.

“We've got some players that have been playing interstate and have a full season under their belt, and others that haven't played since the practice matches this time last year,” he said. 

“The expectation for me is to get that connection through the group and really get some cohesion amongst our playing groups.

“To have them replicate what the club stands for in: good relationships and a really positive environment.”

Appointed in November 2020, O’Shannessy was looking forward to getting amongst the playing group at Ikon Park.

His experience in the NAB League and developmental football is something he believes will benefit him immensely in overseeing Carlton's VFLW team in 2021.

“My background is working in the under-18 pathway through the NAB league. I worked at the Oakleigh Chargers for the past 10 years and set up their girls’ program over the last four,” he said.

“When that was all suspended and then cancelled last year and they restructured all the staff, I wasn't sure I was going to coach in 2021 and that's when the Club reached out.

“The space I'm coming from in that development space, that's something that they were really focusing on in the VFLW programming, setting up a women's reserve side that could really be a feeder to their AFLW side."