Scott Gowans is looking forward to raising the intensity of training for his AFLW side during the 2024 preseason after the club wrapped five invitational matches in the VFLW.

For the first time the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants were welcomed to compete in the league this season, providing a development opportunity for young up-and-comers.

Speaking to Sydney Swans Media following the games, the head coach said it was not only beneficial to test structures and new concepts, but it highlighted the club’s new recruits.


“We were able to integrate new players into the team and I think they bring a bit of flair,” Gowans reflected.

The side recruited five players to the squad at the end of the 2023 season. Giselle Davies hails from the Gold Coast Suns while Kiara Hiller was secured in a trade with the Brisbane Lions.

QBE Sydney Swans Academy product Holly Cooper was signed to the Swans in the 2023 Expansion U18 Talent Pathway Pre-Signing Period, while Sarah Grunden and Laura Hausegger joined during the 2023 AFLW Draft Period.

Giselle Davies and Holly Cooper play against Collingwood.

“The new players, new draftees fitted in really well,” Gowans added.

“I thought they showed that their game sense is at a standard where they can come into our AFLW pre-season and impact straight away.”

Gowans was particularly impressed by Grunden who hails from the Calder Cannons Football Club.

“She put her hand up for selection in Round 1 of AFLW by just playing great footy and the class to get out of trouble.”

The coach also praised Hillier for her rebounding, Hausegger’s composure and the strength and speed of Cooper.

The Swans won four of five matches in the VFLW, going down to Collingwood by just two points in the final game.

“What [the VFLW] did allow us to do was have a look at [the players] against big bodies.

“When we played Collingwood on the weekend, they played a lot of AFLW players, it was great to see that we were able to maintain that physicality in contest work.”


The AFLW will begin in the last week of August in the AFL bye round ahead of finals with the official preseason kicking off on Monday, June 3rd.

“Of course, now the trick is that the intensity of a AFLW pre-season goes up, there's an extra two training sessions a week, you're playing for keeps so it'll be interesting to see how they handle that side of it,” Gowans noted.  

“But from what they've shown in VFLW allows us to start at a level of preseason that we perhaps wouldn't have had if we didn’t play.”

AFLW Memberships are available now. It’s never too early to join the Sydney Swans.