THE WAFL Women's Premiership Season begins this Sunday and Kara Donnellan will be in charge of Swan Districts against Subiaco and she couldn’t be more excited to be part of the new competition.
The new-look WAFLW competition begins this Sunday and it will feature five clubs – Claremont, East Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Subiaco and Swan Districts – competing over a 15-round season with plenty of AFL Women's talent spready throughout each team.
Swan Districts has been a perennial powerhouse of the WA Women's Football League and now have been included as one of the five clubs in the new WAFLW competition.
While Donnellan is still a star player in her own right with the Fremantle Dockers in AFLW, she has decided to not play during the WAFLW season to give her body a break but that doesn’t mean she won't be heavily involved.
Donnellan has been appointed coach at Swan Districts for the inaugural WAFLW season and she couldn’t be more excited by what the WA Football Commission is doing to help grow female football further.
"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," Donnellan 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."
Donnellan has been a key feature of all of Swan Districts' success for much of the last decade in the WAWFL which has included four premierships, which is why she remains linked to the Black Ducks now heading into the inaugural WAFLW season.
While she won't be out on the field with her team that includes stars like Ebony Antonio, Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp, Alicia Janz and Kellie Gibson, there's no other club that Donnellan would want to be part of.
"I've been at the footy club for seven years now," she 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."
Looking back on the 2019 AFLW season at the Dockers, Donnellan enjoyed it a lot more than the first two years with Fremantle reaching the preliminary final before losing to Carlton to miss out on a preliminary final appearance.
With Trent Cooper as coach, it was a greatly improved season by the Dockers and Donnellan was a key part of their success.
"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," he said.
"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."
Donnellan had a frustrating end to the season missing that preliminary final against the Blues through injury, but she's already excited for what 2020 could hold for the Dockers.
"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," Donnellan said.
"But there's obviously a bit of a wait until November when we get our pre-season going to get ready for 2020."