Charles Sturt University aren't expecting many players at training between now and the new year, but they're confident they won't be behind the eight ball come the start of the Southern NSW Women's season.
In fact, returning coach Sam Barrow isn't concerned at all, since he's been training his side since mid-July.
Faced with the conundrum of the season running during university holidays, Barrow is hopeful their pre-preseason runs will have been enough to entice students back to Wagga a week or two early.
"Being a uni club, a lot of the team didn't come until halfway through the season this year, so they only could play three games if they were around," Barrow said.
"So I started to try and spark that interest and we thought we may as well start doing some training runs.
"We started that probably halfway through July and we were doing just one night a week for about 45 minutes and then since footy-netball season finished we've gone to two nights a week."
It's a gamble that's paid off for the Bushpigs, with close to 40 players attending sessions during the university semester.
While Barrow admits he's not expecting all those players to register, he's pleased with what he's seen so far.
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"We probably hit a high at one training with 32 women there, and across the board we had 40 to 45 different people come and go, including our regulars who have played before and then some people who are looking for some extra fitness," he said.
"We're happy to cater to anyone, getting numbers down and involved.
"It's been good to have a bunch of girls that are getting around each other now, and even though they've gone home, they're still pushing each other on our group chat, we're still engaged and the girls are trying to chase up what we're doing, can they do anything else, which is fantastic to see for me as a coach.
"To see that they are still keen even though they're so far away, it's really that engagement we want, and then the follow-on effect from that will mean that when we do come back, we're not behind the eight ball as far as chemistry."
Struggling with numbers in the opening two rounds in 2023, he's hopeful the football bug might bring players back to town to play ahead of the university's O week.
Barrow credited Wagga-based players with ensuring the influx of interest, bringing in new faces from across the university to have a run.
Despite plenty of new faces, he's expecting the usual core group of players will return for 24.
"We're looking to also pick up a few through the uni which is exciting, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens," he said.
"We've put that little idea in the girls heads, when they want to come back, they're thinking should I come back [early] for footy, they've done the training and can think about how they enjoyed that."
Finding their momentum late in the 2023 season, Barrow is hopeful the long preseason will help negate a slow start.
With the season confirmed to be extended in 2024, he said he's excited to give his team even more opportunities to play football.
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