Incoming Diamond Creek Women’s senior coach Jarrod Hart is excited to continue the work achieved by his predecessor, as he aims to coach his side to back-to-back Division 1 women’s premierships.
Hart joined the club last year as an assistant and was promoted to the senior coaching role following the departure of Col Wallington to Collingwood’s VFLW side.
It will be Hart’s first senior coaching role in 15 years after he spent three seasons in the top job at Lower Plenty between 2006 and 2008. He was also an assistant coach with Epping prior to joining the Creekers.
Ahead of the 2023 campaign, Hart is excited about taking over the side, saying that the demographic of the playing group shares a lot of similarities to the teams he coached at the Bears.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that are coming up through the ranks, which is good and I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
“It takes me back to when I coached Lower Plenty back in the day, we went from Division 1 to Division 2 and we played a lot of the kids then too.
“We had quite a few experienced players (back then) around them, so it’s a similar situation to what I find myself in now, which is good.”
Hart played a key role on the side lines in the Creekers first premiership triumph in the NFNL women’s competition last year. They lost just one game throughout the season before coming from behind in the grand final to defeat Darebin in an entertaining topflight clash.
Hart’s work over the last 12 months not only assisted with his transition into the senior role, but also got him excited about further developing his relationship with the playing group.
“Towards the end of the season last year, I was taking a lot of the team meetings, and running a bit more of the training so the transition wasn’t that hard from that point of view, he said.
“They’re (the players) here for the love of it, they love their teammates, that’s what gets them to the line. There are a few different drivers from a men’s side of things, but what I know is that they’re very coachable.”
Many of Diamond Creek Women’s’ premiership stars have re-committed to the club for the 2023 campaign, with some being given opportunities at higher levels.
Leah Swain has re-signed with Casey after making her debut for the Demons last year with Zoe Bailey also heading to the VFLW side. Meanwhile 2022 Division 1 women’s Team of the Year forwards Lauren Durante and Georgia Tait have also been targeted by VFLW clubs, signing for Collingwood and Carlton respectively.
Despite their potential unavailability throughout the season, Hart was pleased to see the quartet be given a chance at state level.
“(The players signing with VFLW sides) creates opportunity and it’s also good for our program,” he said.
“Hopefully we don’t see them, but if they do happen to miss a game, they’ll definitely be pulling on the jumper for us still”.
The Creekers will also be without young stars Jade McLay and Chiara Nardo for parts of the season due to Coates Talent League (formerly NAB League) commitments.
However, they will be bolstered by the inclusion of some of their under-18’s players as well as others who are making their way from regional areas. Hart is looking forward to having them in the program.
“We’ve picked up Emma Leyfield, who lives in Mansfield. She reached out to us to understand the program and where we’ve been, so she’s jumped on board,” he said.
“Samantha Bice has come down from Mildura, she’s moved down into the area, and she’s got a development role with Richmond too.
“She’s brought across Olivia Stein, who’s involved with the Calder Cannons and when they finish, she’ll come across and help us out also.”
Diamond Creek Women’s will attempt to become the second side in NFNL women’s history to win back-to-back flags, with the Bendigo Thunder achieving the feat by winning Division 1 premierships in 2017 and 2018.
While Hart is aware of the task at hand, the trust he has in his playing group has given him confidence that the club can push for the premiership again in 2023.
“If we develop them the right way, coach them, train them and try to get them together and enjoying their football, then what will be will be, the results should take care of itself,” he said.
“We’re under no illusions that we’re going to be the hunted, but if we prepare properly, we’ll take on any challenger that comes our way.”