Fremantle senior coach Trent Cooper has had to hold his players back from immediately using the disappointment of the cancelled 2020 AFLW season as motivation for 2021.

Cooper, who was last week announced as the AFLW’s senior coach of the year, said he’s been heartened to see how hungry his players have been to build from their unbeaten season.

But he stressed it was important that the group used their determination productively, with the start of the 2021 season at least nine months away.

“There’s disappointment and also a lot of drive there,” Cooper told ABC Radio.

“We’ve spoken about how we’re probably about 45 weeks away from round one, so we have to let this go and let it build back up again.

“We can’t maintain that burn for that long, I know some of the players were out training extremely hard in the week or two afterwards.

“I said ‘if that’s the way you need to deal with it, that’s fine, but you can’t maintain that for the full year, we have to have a break at some stage’.

“We had a strong drive from our really poor performance in our preliminary final (against Carlton in 2019), so that drove us to be a lot more resilient and push us on for this season.

“Next year, I’m sure what happened in 2020 will drive us on for 2021.”

Cooper said his coaching award was a reflection of the efforts of the whole AFLW cohort in the past year.

“(The award) probably means a bit more this year compared to other years, just because we never got to go on and aim for bigger things,” Cooper said.

“I think it’s an award that’s shared by the whole coaching staff, players and the whole program.

“The messages from all the players and different people, they were all really stoked about it and I think it was really good for them to share a part of it.”

14:53 Mins
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