GWS Giants AFL women's team's "exceptional" improvement despite wooden spoon finish

The GWS Giants finished the inaugural AFL women’s competition with the wooden spoon but coach Tim Schmidt said the improvement has been “exceptional”.

“At the start of the year, I didn’t mention anything about the win-loss column,” Schmidt said. 

“It was all about development and improvement and working as individuals and also as a team and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

“The win-loss column is going to read one win, one draw, five losses but at the end of the day, I think they’ve played and performed better than that.”

The Giants went into the last game of the season against the Western Bulldogs with the loser to finish the season with the wooden spoon.

After close first half, the Bulldogs ran away with a 7.10 (52) to 3.2 (20) win.

Schmidt said his side battled hard throughout the match.

It is this resilience the side has shown throughout the season that has impressed Schmidt.

“They’ve come a really long way,” he said.

“The step has been huge so to the girls credit, they’ve taken everything on board.

“It doesn’t stop here, we keep improving and keep developing but it’s been exceptional by the group.”

With the AFLW going into grand final week with the Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows to play off to be the competition’s first champion, the Giants will be focusing on their season review process.

The focus will turn to trades and player retention with Schmidt hoping to “keep the core group together”.

He said it had been an “extraordinary first year” of the AFLW.

“What the AFL and all the eight clubs have done has been exceptional,” he said.

“There’s a genuine interest in female sport in general and especially female footy.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to get bigger and better in the future.”

After completing her HSC at the end of last year, 18-year-old star Erin McKinnon said it had been an amazing ride in the club’s first season.

“It’s been an absolutely amazing experience, I’ve loved every minute of it, even the losses,” she said.

“It’s been amazing the amount of supporters we’ve been getting, not just from the current supporters but from a few people who have never seen AFL before.

“It’s absolutely awesome for them to come and support not only women’s AFL but women in sport in general, which is really great.”

For Giants back Alex Saundry, she said this is just the start for the competition.

”We’re the start where there are young girls out there that want to play and aspire to do what we’re doing and that’s the real by-product of it,” she said.