Scott Gowans during the AFLW elimination final match between Gold Coast and Sydney at Heritage Bank Stadium, November 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

SYDNEY coach Scott Gowans is a big fan of this year's addition of mid-week footy to the fixture.

"The condensed part of the fixture is really good," Gowans told

"I think if you ask any player, they'd rather play than train… so when it was suggested at the coaches meeting, I loved it. I thought it was a great idea."

Every club will have one mid-week game, backed up by a match the following weekend throughout the season, with all but three preparing for a four-day break.

Sydney's run will come between weeks five and six, where it will face the Western Bulldogs, Essendon, and Geelong over a nine-day period.

"You've just got a recovery session after that game in the middle, and you just go straight into the next game," Gowans said.

Scott Gowans during the Official Team Photo Day at Sydney Swans HQ, July 3, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Clubs will need to approach the situation in different ways to best suit their list's unique needs, and it offers a fresh challenge to strength and conditioning coaches.

"We've come up with certain ways to make sure that if we do get sore leading into that game, particularly for the Bulldogs game, then you've got a Plan B. And that's the way we've set it up," he said.

"Different teams will do different things, I think there's a number of ways you can approach it. You can rest players, you can manage players, you can I suppose sacrifice a little bit of percentage if you get well in front of a side and rest players on the bench… but that's a great thing for the competition because it creates interest.

"We all talk about doing things differently and creating interest in our game, and I think that creates interest."

It is an opportunity to find out the strength not just of each club's first-choice team, but it's total squad depth.

"You always want to try and get the bottom end of your squad as close to the middle bit of your squad as you can, because that's what the better teams do, and I think the reason that the inaugural clubs are so successful and no expansion club has won it is because they bat deeper," Gowans said.

Players at the AFLW Official Team Photo Day at Sydney Swans HQ, July 3, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"Because they had that first opportunity to pick from around the country and put the groups together, and every single expansion side that has come in has been able to put the top end and get that right, but nobody's got the whole squad right.

"I think most of us are battling to try and improve that area, and you will always want to try and get your guns into your team. But you rely so much on the others, not just in games but in training and standards… it's really important to have a solid squad, so I think it's a good test of that."

In an effort to improve its depth, Sydney recruited five new faces during the off season, two via the draft in Sarah Grunden and Lara Hausegger, one priority selection in Holly Cooper, and two via trade in Giselle Davies and Kiara Hillier from Gold Coast and Brisbane respectively.

Sydney's season kicks off with the 2024 season opener on Friday, August 30 against Collingwood at North Sydney Oval.