Goddard to lead all-female VFLW coaching panel

Hawthorn will become the first AFL club in VFLW/AFLW history to field an all-female coaching panel, led by former Adelaide premiership coach Bec Goddard.

A former player, umpire and coach in Canberra, Goddard is yet to coach her first official VFLW game, having originally been brought into the club for the 2020 season, which was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.

In 2017 Goddard became the AFLW’s inaugural premiership coach, after expertly guiding the Crows through their first senior campaign.

After two seasons in Adelaide, Goddard returned to Canberra and continued her work with the Canberra Demons in the 2018 NEAFL competition.

Goddard said Hawthorn’s decision to appoint an all-female coaching group in 2021 is something bigger than football.

“I’ve been thinking a lot during COVID about one day when they put me in the ground, how will I be remembered in footy and what contribution did I make?” Goddard told The Ticket last week.

“I really wanted it to be more than just the 14 games of AFLW that I coached, I really wanted to be able to start to open doors for women coming through and to have a powerful football club like Hawthorn back this, and actually have this initiative, to be brave, and have such overt leadership, I think it’s really, really important.”

Goddard said the move will ideally create greater opportunities for women in the coaching space across the country.

“All of the women’s coaching staff had their contracts terminated, there was no competition, so we couldn’t stay on staff and during that time I was able to start having conversations with the CEO Justin Reeves about what the future of football looks like at Hawthorn,” she said.

“It became really clear that women were a really big piece of that and not just in the playing role — if you want to be the CEO, you can be the CEO, you want to be the head of comms, you can be the head of comms, you want to be a coach then we’ve got those leadership positions available to you.”

Goddard will be joined on the Hawks’ VFLW coaching panel by Assistant Coaches Christina Polatajko and Hayley Gregory with Lou Wotton, Natasha Beck and Steph Carroll coming on board as Development coaches.

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