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We’ve got to make each other better, says Burke

Western Bulldogs AFLW senior coach Nathan Burke says he wants his players to make each other better, as the program ramps up their preseason preparations.

Western Bulldogs AFLW senior coach Nathan Burke says he wants his players to make each other better, as the program ramps up their preseason preparations.

In his second year at the helm, Burke led the Bulldogs to five wins and four losses in 2021 - a significant improvement to the season prior.

He said if they want to improve again, they’ll have to continue raising their standards.

“If every player gets better individually, we will have a better team than what we had last year – that’s just natural,” Burke told westernbulldogs.com.au.

“But if we can get better individually, and also push our teammates to get better, that’s when you get the exponential growth.

“Thinking outside yourself – ‘how can I make my teammates better than what they were?’ – that’s what great teams do. That’s what we’re aiming for, and it’s all about raising standards.

“Whatever we did last year got us five wins and four losses. If we do exactly the same, then we’ll go backwards because everyone else will improve.

“We need to look at the areas that we can improve and get better.”

Despite having started the official preseason just over four weeks ago, Burke said the fact that his team remained committed to training during the off-season has meant they have the luxury of focussing on other areas.

“We had a really big winter actually – we kept training pretty much all the way through, and they did a lot of work on their skills, which has allowed us to do a bit more game-plan stuff than we otherwise would have,” Burke said.

“The game stuff has been the main focus, but there’s also the fitness component which you can’t escape – unfortunately that’s just part of the parcel of preseason.

“We’ve been working on three aspects – attacking, defending and the contest. Each of those three elements makes up part of our training each night, so we’re getting the players better at those.”

The Bulldogs are still striving towards their 2x25 goal – winning two more premierships by the year 2025.

Burke said the buy-in from his playing group has been fantastic.

“It’s about getting the players really focussed on what we are here for – are we here to just be a team that plays AFLW, or are we here to be a team that’s dominant for a long period of time?” he said.

“That simply means winning Grand Finals, and aiming for Grand Finals - we call it 2x25, but that doesn’t mean 2024 and 2025. Why can’t we be ready in 2022 and 2023?

“That’s what I’m trying to drum into the players –that’s what we are aiming for.

“I’m just rapt that they’ve really latched onto that, and are doing better than they ever have.”

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Western Bulldogs acknowledge that we reside on traditional lands of the Kulin Nation. We offer our respect to the Elders of these traditional lands, and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples past, present and emerging.