In his first pursuit as senior coach in the women’s space, Darren Crocker took time to reflect at the Club Champion awards dinner on Wednesday night.
“People always ask me about the experience and what it’s been like. I’ve just absolutely loved this experience and appreciate how much the team have embraced me as their coach,” he told a big crowd at River's Edge.
“I get asked about the difference between the men and the women’s programs, and this season gave me the answer – by the time you start and get going, the women’s league comes to an end quite quickly.”
A close-fought loss or thrilling win during the home and away season can make a huge difference to a team's ladder position, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos' sixth-placed finish meaning they always had an uphill battle come finals time.
With a season under his belt and a better understanding of the team, the AFLW system and where North needs to improve, Crocker is keen to begin preparations for 2022.
“We are here to put a full stop on the 2021 season,” he said.
“I’ve finally stopped thinking like my 15-year-old son… it goes a bit like this: ‘Dad, you could’ve won the bloody flag’ and I think, he is absolutely right to a certain degree.
“We need to stay ahead of the competition… we just need to keep lifting the bar, in everything we do – to just keep improving and getting better.
“Let’s bring on season 2022.”
Skipper Emma Kearney is equally excited to take on the new season and is hoping that the build-up is uninterrupted after the hardship faced last year.
“The off-season for us last year was really hard. We spent six months away from each other,” Kearney said
“It was a disappointing end to the season; it still hurts me. But there is so much potential in this group.
“With the coaches and staff, we have involved, we look forward to keep growing and getting better this year. So… look out.”