Sevens standout Faith Nathan believes the uncertainty and external noise surrounding their coach has brought the side together as 'one team'.
The coaching future of both the men's and women's teams was thrown into limbo as John Manenti and Tim Walsh were required to re-apply for their positions.
Whilst both remain with the program, it was announced on Friday they will take over different teams as Walsh moves back to the women's side and Manenti to the men.
Nathan admits the process took its toll on some of the players as they tried to recover from a disappointing Tokyo campaign.
However, she believes it has galvanised the squad, helping them to back-to-back wins in Dubai.
“I just feel like some of us, maybe most of us are a bit stressed about the whole situation going on with the coaching staff and everything involving that,” Nathan told Rugby.com.au the day before the announcement.
“Because we’re all just one team, we’ve come together and said ‘you know what, we can’t make the decision now, we can’t decide who our coach is now’ so we just focused on ourselves and doing the job right.”
Nathan points to a brutal pre-season by Manenti and strength and conditioning coach Tom Carter as key to their stunning form to start the season, conceding just 12 tries across 10 games whilst scoring 53 tries.
Being pushed to their mental and physical limits has Nathan and the rest of the squad constantly striving for improvements as they build for the impending Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup.
“When you think you’re having a really bad training day, you just keep reflecting on what you could have done so next training session, you keep improving,” she added.
“Personally I think (the improvements) came as every girl was running. I feel like before Tokyo, some people didn’t really challenge themselves so TC (Tom Carter) told me because we’re one team, everyone has to run even if you are sore or injured.
“I think having that mentality has players working for each other so this pre-season has probably been one of the hardest ones I’ve done. A few tears, mostly every day, but it’s good that TC pushed us because most of us didn’t believe we could have pushed as much as we did and I think that’s how we got the outcomes.”
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This was best seen after last week's win Final, with Nathan deflecting initial praise after winning the Player of the Match, instantly admitting she could have done better.
As they prepare for a packed 2022 calendar, the 21-year-old is adamant they will be near 'unstoppable' if they continue to work on their handling and discipline.
“It was a good final but I know I could have done a lot better,” she reiterated.
“I just know they were a couple of mistakes, a lot of drop ball or a yellow card. If we just fix a couple of those things, I know we can be an unstoppable team.
“Tackle wise, I could have pushed forward and just my attack, I didn’t really get to attack much so I needed to get involved more around the ball.”