15/04/2024

The Sydney Swans will take on Gold Coast at Henson Park on Saturday. (Photo: Phil Hillyard)

After a difficult start to life in the AFLW, Sydney coach Scott Gowans is sticking to his processes as he continues to oversee the development of his inexperienced group.

After a 66-point thrashing at the hands of the Kangaroos, the Swans have another tough fixture on Saturday at Henson Park against the Gold Coast Suns. Meanwhile, the Suns will be desperate to get back into the top eight after a narrow four-point loss to the Tigers.

For Gowans, however, the opposition and the scoreboard don’t matter. From week to week, the message remains the same.

“From my perspective, the message is just to do what we’re doing, follow the process and see improvement,” Gowans stated.

“We don’t want to waver from that no matter who we play.

“If we can increase our time with the ball in our hands, that hopefully gives us more territory. And if we get more territory, it gives us more inside 50s, more chance to score.”

For Gowans, this season is primarily one of growth and learning for the group.

“[We] go into this week, it’s an opportunity to win, absolutely, but it’s more about what we do as a group and how we grow as a group.”

Co-captain Lauren Szigeti agreed with the process-driven approach.

“It’s probably easy [from outside] to think that our belief as a group is hard to keep,” she said.

“But I think that as a group our belief does keep growing each week.

“We’re so focused on the process, and we see ourselves getting closer to hitting our internal KPIs and [even] hitting those sometimes now, which grows our belief irrelevant of what the scoreboard says.”

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Szigeti is not just a crucial member of Sydney’s squad, but a valuable member of the leadership group.

Recruited from Hawthorn’s VFLW side, she has made an immediate impact as a guiding voice within the group, and reflects this on game day.

She’s hard at the footy, and often provides a spark for the young Swans when they need it. Szigeti has learnt much about not only her game as a footballer, but as a leader too.

“I feel like I’ve learnt just as much off the field as I have on the field this season,” she said.

“Probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt being in an expansion team is the importance of having real, genuine connections with everyone at the club, with your teammates, your coaches, and all of the other staff.

“We’ve definitely realised this year that that is the absolute cornerstone of a successful team. You can’t perform and be connected on the field if you’re not [connected] off the field.

“And that’s knowing everyone really well, where they’ve come from, why they’re here, what their goals are. It’s so important, and that’s been the biggest thing for me.”

The team has four more opportunities this season to grow and connect as a club on the field. The Gold Coast Suns will be eager to climb back into the top eight, and should provide a strong fight.

Sydney will look to replace midfielder Aimee Whelan, who suffered a season ending collarbone injury during training on Wednesday night. However, Ally Morphett and Rebecca Privitelli should be available for selection after injury concerns earlier in the week.

After playing three ‘home’ games in three separate venues, Sydney plays its final two home games at historic Henson Park. Fans can view the contest between the Swans and Suns on Saturday at 1:10 pm AEDT.

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