After signing a new contract with Fremantle, star winger Stephanie Cain has an ambitious and obvious goal in her next two years as a Freo Docker.
Her extension for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons (Season 6 and Season 7) comes in the first week of the AFLW’s sign and trade period, joining defender Ange Stannett as the Freo Dockers who have agreed to new deals so far.
Despite finishing as the next-best to Kiara Bowers in the Club’s AFL Fairest and Best count last month, Cain said she wasn’t motivated by individual accolades.
“I always want to be an athlete who does whatever they can for the team. Holding up the cup would be pretty special from a team perspective, so I think that drive and determination will come through for everyone to try and push towards that premiership even harder next season,” Cain said.
“We want to keep on building on where we’re going as a group. We obviously didn’t achieve what we wanted to this year but the buy-in is there and we’re on the right pathway.”
Cain’s impressive 2021 season came on her return from 12 months out due to an ACL injury.
“(Finishing runner-up in the count) was special for me, especially coming back from injury,” Cain said.
“I think in terms of playing that wing role and just really owning it, it was something that I’ve developed over the past couple of years and just playing consistent football has been something personally, that I’ve really wanted to focus on.”
Cain said she’s been able to grow her role, especially as the standard across the AFLW competition and at Fremantle improves.
“I love playing on the wing, I love being able to own that. It’s something that the footy club has really developed since the first season,” Cain said.
“Initially, it was never really brought up in team meetings but it is now a clear focus every week. Everyone knows what the wingers are doing and how we can utilise them in our game plan as well.”
Even with the start of Season 6 of the AFLW being brought forward to December, and the pre-season to September, it’s still a long off-season for the players.
Cain said that the group had been making sure they stay close-knit with a collective motivation to improve from their qualifying final appearance in 2021.
“This year we had so many close games which could have gone either way,” Cain said.
“We’ve been able to reflect on the season so we can understand where we can get better as a group.
“In terms of looking forward to the future, I believe that everyone has clued in on where they need to improve as players and as a collective.
“We’ve got voluntary sessions running on a Tuesday so girls can come down together and work on what they need to with (high performance manager) Kate Starre.
“With the pre-season starting in September and the season in December, I think that really gives everyone a kick up the bum to really hone in on what they need to improve.”
Keep your eyes peeled to fremantlefc.com.au over the Sign and Trade Period as Fremantle finalise and shape their list for season six of the AFL Women’s Competition.
Key dates for the 2021 AFLW Sign and Trade Period:
Monday 31 May
Sign & Trade Period commences (12pm AEST)
Wednesday 9 June
Trade Period closes (2pm AEST)
List Lodgement #1 (4pm AEST)
Wednesday 16 June
Re-signing period closes (2pm AEST)
Restricted Free Agency Period closes (2pm AEST)
List Lodgement #2 (4pm AEST)
Friday 25 June
Delisted Free Agency period closes (2pm AEST)
List Lodgement #3 (4pm AEST)
NAB AFLW Draft order confirmed
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