Almost 12 months ago newly appointed Gold Coast Suns Captain Tara Bohanna was playing VFLW football for the Southern Saints. Flash forward, she’ll lead the Gold Coast Suns into season seven of the AFLW.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum at Captains Day at Marvel Stadium, Bohanna said that she’s honoured to be leading the team into this upcoming AFLW season.
“It’s a massive honour,” Bohanna told The Inner Sanctum.
“I haven’t been around too long, but for them [Gold Coast Suns teammates] to see me in that way, I suppose I don’t take it lightly.
“It’s a massive honour to lead this club and I think we’ve got a heap of proven and exciting things coming.”
Bohanna had her first big test as captain over the weekend when the Suns faced Geelong in a practice match at Austworld Centre Oval, which saw the Suns go down by 35 points.
“I suppose at halftime, like the second quarter was probably the bit where we really fell off a bit. So, after halftime, we were just kind of saying ‘Hey girls, we’re still in this obviously the weather isn’t ideal but we got to just forego that’,” she said.
“I think that is definitely the biggest challenge because the vibes and the team morale has been really up in the whole preseason. So then when you have something like that happen, it definitely makes it more challenging, but I suppose just getting around to everyone.
“Every individual has their way of kind of getting back up and about so just trying to work that out. I guess the biggest thing as a captain is how we can help each individual player, but I think at the end of the day, it was a really good test for us, a really good reality check heading into round one.
“I think to be honest, coming into training this week everyone’s been massively fired up from it. So, I think that really helps, everyone was talking about the vibes yesterday so it was really good. So, it’s probably a good thing.”
Bohanna had a strong debut season, playing all 10 matches for the Suns and kicked 13 goals for the season, which included a three-goal haul against St Kilda in round 8.
Going into season seven, Bohanna will be looking to replicate her fine form from last season and really lead by example.
“I think first and foremost you want to be playing your best footy. Obviously as a captain as well but I think if you’re playing good footy and you’re up and about then you can kind of make that a bit easier to also captain the team,” she said.
“If you’re not sort of performing, it kind of hinders you by having that extra pressure. For myself I guess doing the best that I can for my team, I’m always going in hard and creating a contest if not winning it so I’ll try and continue to do that whilst also obviously getting around my teammates, making sure I’m getting the best out of them as well.”
Getting drafted from the Southern Saints means that upon her arrival to the Suns, there were a few familiar faces with former Saints Claudia Whitfort and Alison Drennan now at the Suns.
“I suppose it definitely makes it an easier transition going out there when you’ve had players you’ve played against before, up there. So that definitely was great to have like familiar people up, especially since you don’t have family and stuff up there,” Bohanna said.
“It also means that you kind of know how each of them plays so again, that makes it easier on the field.
“I think having that experience at VFL level definitely helps you come up to the next level and a few other girls coming from VFL have felt that and the new girls as well. So that definitely prepares you in order to play AFLW.”
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Gold Coast have lost a few players due to expansion with Hannah Dunn, Kate Surman, Britt Perry, Cheyenne Hammond, and Jacqui Yorston all making their way to Port Adelaide.
Despite the losses, Bohanna is confident that the Suns can get back to the level that they were at in this year’s earlier season.
“I think we definitely have what it takes to keep building on what we did last year, I think we’re just trying to be a bit more methodical and I guess move forward with what we’re doing,” she said.
“We just want to keep building on what we have been, we think our brand of footy is really great and we can bring it against the best team. I think we’re on the right path.
“I think the cohesion part of it definitely is first and foremost, I think any team that gets and works together well performs better. So, we’ll try and keep that in as over that game [against Geelong], you know, the roll was down a bit, but we learned from that. I think it’ll be for the best and we’ll just keep building from that,”
The Gold Coast Suns will travel to Tasmania for the first round of the season, taking on the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
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