GANMAIN-Grong Grong-Matong coach Luke Walsh believes the AFL Southern NSW Women's competition is best placed to remain in the February to April window as the league prepares to welcome a host of new clubs next year.
Walsh will take the helm of the Lions as head coach after acting as an assistant to Tania Lenon last year.
The Lions were one of the success stories in their maiden season last year, finishing third with a 5-2 record.
With Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, Coolamon, Wagga Tigers and Turvey Park looking to join the league, Walsh hopes having a year under their belts will give his side a head start on the pack.
A women's program is one of the criteria teams need to meet to be considered for a premier league competition set to begin in 2023.
"It's still exciting to see what the girls are capable of after a year under their belt. Just seeing how quickly they improved last year in a pretty short season, we'll see what we can do backing up," Walsh said.
"We'll still focus on the fundamentals but now we'll start working on a game plan and consolidating the style of play we want to play.
"That will be a big focus for pre season, making sure everyone is comfortable in their role as a lot of them are still learning that.
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"It definitely helps having a year under our belts and knowing what it's all about. It should help us settle quickly into what is a short season.
"I'm not sure how well the new teams are set up but all we can control is how we prepare and there's a bit of familiarity coming back this year."
Walsh feels the competition is best served avoiding running concurrently with the men's leagues and netball in the future.
"We drew a lot on our netballers (for players), then there was their friends that came on board," he said.
"If women's footy season runs adjacent to men's footy and netball, I don't know how it's going to happen as a lot of our girls play both."
With a number of new teams, Walsh said it's more important than ever to lock in the core of the squad quickly.
"It's exciting having those extra clubs come in and building on the competition, but I definitely want to keep the same team," he said.
"We will lose a couple, a couple are going away for study but we don't want to lose our talent to other clubs.
"As much as I want other clubs to pick up and go well, I don't want it to be at our expense."
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