UNDER-FIRE Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman has declared himself the right person to lead the winless – but developing – Magpies into next season and beyond.
Siekman's side suffered its sixth straight defeat on Saturday night and needs to win next week against Brisbane to avoid being the first AFLW team to go through a season without a victory.
He is in his third year at the helm and already dealt with speculation about his job last year, when former player-turned-commentator Kate Sheahan suggested he should be "a nervous man".
Slow starts plagued Collingwood in the previous two seasons before the team showed promise towards the end of both years.
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This season always loomed as tough after losing key players Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope (North Melbourne), Christina Bernardi (GWS Giants) and Amelia Barden (Carlton).
Making matters worse was that the competition's Rising Star winner last year, Chloe Molloy, won't play a match in the 2019 AFLW campaign because of a Lisfranc injury in her right foot.
The player exodus followed Alicia Eva's departure a season earlier, leaving the Magpies with a youth-laden list by the time Siekman re-signed in May last year.
Siekman walked into his post-match media conference on Saturday night with a smile on his face after the latest 22-point loss to North Melbourne.
His side had tested the high-flying Roos for parts of the game and, according to the coach, had taken great strides since the season started.
"The players keep learning and keep getting better and I know exactly where the club's at and the direction we took back in May last year and I've stuck to task," Siekman told reporters.
"I've stuck to the learning, the development, the improvement each week.
"We go in and review the tapes, we do individual reviews, we sit down with every single player and help them get better and we're seeing that.
"We've set up a great structure through (general manager of women's sport) Jane Woodlands-Thompson at the club, with sports psychs, trainers and a high-performance team.
"Everything is set-up for these players to come in, to execute and be the best athlete they can be and if you're a player out there … the Collingwood footy club is going to be some place to be at, the next couple of years."
Siekman is confident the Magpies won't suffer through another mass walkout after this season despite Richmond, St Kilda, Gold Coast and West Coast preparing to enter the AFLW in 2020.
Captain Steph Chiocchi insisted there wasn't a culture problem at the Holden Centre in the wake of those who left last year, while Siekman believes there is now "a really good team morale".
He also points to much-improved midfielder Sarah Dargan as an example of the progress being made, as well as what might be possible for others next year.
Kangaroos coach Scott Gowans did Siekman's case a favour when he went out of his way to highlight Collingwood's improvement in recent weeks.
As for Siekman, he wants to stay and fight.
"I'd love to. From day one, I've been on task the whole time and I'm excited to see where this club and this team can go next year," he said.
"I want to be here as we push up the ladder and build success – and hopefully build sustained success."