Donnellan pumped to coach Swans in WAFLW

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 9:15 AM by Chris Pike

ALREADY a four-time premiership player at Swan Districts, Kara Donnellan will be coaching Swans into the new Optus WAFL Women's competition starting this Sunday and she couldn’t be more proud to be part of the new era.

Donnellan has already been a ground breaker in football with whatever she has done since making the move to join Swan Districts earlier this decade.

Along the way she has been at the forefront of the Swan Districts' success in the WA Women's Football League including winning the four premierships along with being a cornerstone of WA representative teams and now for the past three seasons playing for Fremantle in the AFL Women's competition.

Donnellan is also committed to Swan Districts off the field as the V Swans Manager, having now taken over that role long held by Nicole Graves.

Graves was also the successful coach of those successful Swans' WAWFL teams that Donnellan is now attempting to try to replicate in her own stint coaching to open the WAFLW competition.

That all gets underway this Sunday afternoon with the Black Ducks hosting Subiaco at Steel Blue Oval.

Donnellan's heart is well and truly with Swan Districts and while she does expect to avoid the temptations of pulling on the boots herself, she is excited to be coaching Swans in the new WAFLW competition.

"I've been at the footy club for seven years now," Donnellan said.

"I've been fortunate enough to win four premierships and that one in 2017 was the most special when our Rogers Cup, reserves and league all won on that day. 

"Hopefully we can do something similar this year. I'm really stoked to be coaching, it's a little bit of a different role obviously for me. But I'm really excited to get started."

Having seen the growth in female football firsthand over the past decade and now especially the last three years with AFLW where she's been part of it with the Dockers, Donnellan is proud to see the new WAFLW competition launched and the further step forward that will take the women's game.

"It's a fantastic initiative from the football commission. We'll have five great teams and there will be a really good contest every single round that the girls will be looking forward," she said.

"Unfortunately I won't be out there, I'll be on the sidelines probably pulling my hair out. But I'm really looking forward to the opportunity and challenge this year.

"At this stage, I don't think I'll be tempted into playing. At this point in time my focus is on coaching the girls down at Swans and having a really good season, and hopefully seeing a few more girls drafted out of Swan Districts."

Looking back on her recently completed AFLW season with the Fremantle Dockers, Donnellan was proud of the Trent Cooper-coached team improving to the point of reaching the preliminary final before losing that to Carlton.

But she was frustrated to have to miss that game herself due to injury and is already motivated to help the Dockers improve even further in 2020.

"I obviously missed the prelim out with an injury, with a sore quad, so I still have that fire in the belly to go again next year. But there's obviously a bit of a wait until November when we get our pre-season going to get ready for 2020," Donnellan said.

"It was much better than the first two seasons. We had a new coach in Trent Cooper and it all really got us started in the off-season with Kate Star, our high performance manager. She got us pretty fit and all on the same page. We had a lot of fit and firing players. 

"It was great to obviously have Kiara Bowers back to play a whole season and then there were the likes of Gemma Houghton too who stood up. It was fantastic to have them all and now to be ready to go again hopefully for next season."