TO WIN a Premiership is tough, to try win one in a club’s inaugural VFLW season would be considered almost impossible. For Port Melbourne and their captain Mel Kuys it is a possibility within reach.
The Borough are undefeated after seven rounds, for Kuys it’s been a rewarding experience that has not been without a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
"A lot of things have been a work in progress all the way since November. Lachie Harris, our coach, has done extremely well recruiting the right players to build a great side quickly," Kuys said.
"It wasn’t about grabbing superstars to get wins on the board, it was more personnel. It’s been rewarding, as I guess a lot of people from the outside wouldn’t have thought a new team coming into the VFLW system would do this well."
Contacted by Port Melbourne’s football manager Glenn Balmforth in late November, it wasn’t until a few weeks before Christmas that Kuys made the decision to join Port Melbourne.
How far they’ve come in a short space of time comes down to the relationships and the cohesion the group has been able to build, Kuys says.
"It’s just general belief in each other to win the footy. It’s not about super-amazing football skills, it’s more about being cohesive and believing in each other and being honest.
"The unity and honesty, that we’ve gelled together really quickly and want to strive for success, has really helped."
The Borough are also buoyed by an affiliation with the Richmond Football Club’s AFLW program. AFLW players who weren’t selected during their season could play with Port Melbourne, and will continue to come through for the rest of the VFLW season, something that has provided inspiration and drive for Port players.
Kuys believes the Richmond girls who have been filtering in and out are not ‘out of place’ but welcomed and made to feel they’re ‘a part of us’ when they play with the Borough.
"Strangely enough they fit in really well," Kuys said
"Yes, we are wearing different jumper colours, but it’s great to have them come across. They’ve got inspiration to get better as footballers at an AFLW level which inspires our girls to play better and train better."
The inspiration from the Richmond players also provides drive for Kuys, who hopes to return to an AFLW list, something she believes is still within her reach.
"I think I can still play at that level, it’s just a matter of having opportunity. Hopefully playing in a successful side and playing some good football might get me back there
"But at the end of the day if it doesn’t happen because of my age or whatever else, then that’s OK too."
Kuys was close to premiership success in 2018, missing the Hawthorn VFLW premiership due to an Achilles injury in the preliminary final against Collingwood on her now home turf at ETU Stadium.
As a team that only got started in late October the best is yet to come for the Borough according to their captain.
"We still have not played our best football. In that way it’s exciting and I think from our perspective, as a footy club knowing we have not shown our best and are still winning is a great result.
"We’re still learning our strengths and weaknesses as a collective and as the weeks go on we’re doing better and better together, but our best is yet to come."
Sitting on top of the ladder, on a seven-game winning streak, the impossibility of a flag in an inaugural season doesn’t feel so impossible for Port Melbourne.