In the 10th anniversary of the Gungahlin Jets in the women’s competition we were able to sit down with
Premiership winning coach Julian Clarkson and talk about everything from how to celebrate a premiership to the changes seen since the start of the women’s competition.
Thanks to Jules and don’t forget to save the 13th April, 7pm in your calendar as the women open the season with a blockbuster against the Belconnen Magpies at GEO.
Q. What surprised you most about coaching women’s footy?
A. I have been involved now with the women’s team for around 5 to 6 years now, so not much surprised me mate. There was times when you look back and think ‘what am i doing’, but by putting in the hard nights and days in the earlier years, as you can see it really is worth it in the long run!
I just want to point out that it wasn’t just myself who put in all the hard work. There are a lot of people before me and helping me now who made the Jetettes who they are today and they know who they are.
Q.What is your personal goal for the season?
A. Finals, why play and coach for any other reason!
Right now, to keep the squad focused and energised, hoping that after every training session they can’t wait for the season to start.
I feel my most important goal is to make sure that all the old and new players stick around and keep that Jetettes culture strong. It is vital that this culture stays strong and i will do everything possible to keep it like this.
Actually we won’t have it any other way, it is our way! Strong culture means strong club!
Q.Who is one player we should look out for this season?
A.Obviously its Britt, I haven’t spoken to her yet (except the occasional good luck message) but when she returns with a year of professional footy under her belt it can only be positive for her, the team and me as a coach.
We have had i reckon at least 15 to 20 new players turn up to training this year. 90% of them never played, so we are all keen to see how they go. One player i will throw out there is Nyrie Claire, never played but looks to go ok.
Bye the way Jess, I watch all my players with an eagle eye and think there all as good as the person standing next to them!
Q.How does it feel to see players you were just coaching given the opportunity to play football at the highest level?
A.Proud, privileged, don’t know, its hard to say. Just so wrapped that they are/were part of our team. To see them on national TV is just the greatest buzz.
Hopefully this will lead to further exposure for more of the extremely talented girls within the Jets.
Just this year, not only do we have 2 players representing us in the WAFL, but we have 25% of the team, plus a coach representing ACT this year. Hows that for depth!
Q.How have you seen women’s football improve during your time as a coach?
A.This answer could take forever, simply put, ‘commitment’! Woods, Cookie, Caddy, in the early days went through some tough times with only a handful of players turning up to training. A good ni
ght might have been a dozen, but now a days if we get 12 I’m pissed and so is everyone else. You can’t learn to kick, handball, mark and now, learn my game plan if you are sitting at home trying to make excuses of why i shouldn’t train.
The commitment over the past couple of years has been awesome to say the least. I can run proper drills that apply them to our game plan, we can bounce ideas off each other throughout the night. During the finals last year we even had selection headaches. Unheard of in previous years, one because we never made finals before, and two, because we had 28 committed players who had trained and done everything possible to try and play and help the team out. Even the girls who weren’t selected still committed themselves to being team members by running water, supporting and doing the “team” thing.
I could of said skills and other stuff Jess, but commitment is the thing that i have noticed has been the biggest difference in womens footy!
Q.What do you think will be the biggest challenge coming into the season as reigning premiers?
A.Not complacency i can guarantee you.
Being able to keep a consistent high standard, week in week out, thats our biggest challenge! We have the talent and the commitment so we are half way there. Application and execution now is what we will try to achieve in order to complete our goal.
We know it won’t be easy, I have already told the playing group and coaches that we are no longer every bodies second favourite team. We have a giant target on our back now, and to tell you the truth Jess, I think we will relish being the hunted.
We don’t want to give up that lovely piece of silverware in our trophy cabinet just yet!
Q.How did the best womens coach in Canberra celebrate the Grand Final victory?
A.Went straight home and reviewed the game.
After i had a few beers and danced and taught people to gamble and had a few more beers and sang and partied and had a few more beers and then had Mad Monday with our premiership cup with a few beers!
One of the best nights ever Jess.
I love winning flags, they’re fun.
Q.If you could have a slippery disk at the hangar with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
A.The people i have them with now.
My really good mates have spent many a long cold night at the presidents bar talking rubbish and watching the tour de France, having 3am spas, being a menace on a Thursday night. I live for that and I still do. Im still one of the last to leave on a Thursday and its because of my team mates both male and female who i love sitting down with, having a beer and a disk and just chew the fat about anything and everything!
Love yas all!
Q.Will we get to see you slip on the boots for another go-around in the seniors this year?
A.I will definitely be playing when i am not committed to coaching. I just don’t know when to retire do I. I just love playing and can’t picture myself not playing competitive sport. Whether it is in seconds or maybe the odd seniors game i am as committed now as when i was when i played my 1st game in 2003.
Its going to be tough but i am in it for the long haul Jess. I have achieved a lot at my time with the Jets and i reckon i am going to achieve a hell of a lot more before my time is done.