“Inspirational, passionate, adored, fun, competitive”: NSW/ACT’s female coaches
July is Women’s Coaching Month, supported by BHP, and we wanted to showcase some of our most beloved female coaches in NSW and the ACT.
Below is just some of the great feedback we’ve heard for our community coaches across Seniors, Juniors and NAB AFL Auskick programs.
…and while we have you, Volunteer of the Year nominations close on 31 July, so have a think about who at your club or school has been a great advocate for footy and give them the recognition they deserve.
…nominations for 2022 AFLW Community Ambassador also close 31 July – another great opportunity for you to recognise sustained good work in community footy.
AFL North West
Alana Hanson and Ash Farrell: Women’s coach – Northern Beaches Blues
When Alana and Ash took the coaching reins at Northern Beaches they became the club’s first female coaches. They’re proving to be a great team, with Alana leading from on field and Ash keeping an eye on everything from the side line. Their passion for footy shines through in everything they do – when the club recently received a forfeit, Alana and Ash rallied the troops and pulled together an intra club match at short notice just so the players didn’t miss out. Although they’re new to the role, the team is full of admiration and respect for the job they’re doing.
AFL North Coast
Shannon Campbell: Women’s coach – Tamworth Kangaroos
Shannon was a key driver in starting the AFL North West women’s competition West and has been ever present – including playing one season for Gunnedah when the Roos weren’t able to field a team. This year she has stepped up to become the league’s first ever female coach and is a genuine role model for girls and women, not only within the Roos, but across the League. Shannon pours so much of her time and care into assisting players grow as footballers, no matter their experience level, all the while juggling her young family and ensuring they’re not overlooked.
AFL Hunter Central Coast
Hannah Murray: Youth Girls 17 Rep coach – Terrigal/Avoca Central Coast
Thank you, Hannah for giving girls the opportunity to play rep AFL. When there was no coach, there was the possibility that the girls wouldn’t be able to play and even though you had no affiliation to the team you took the role on. When girls withdrew due to injury and it would have been easier for you to stop their rep journey yet you liaised with the AFL and have now given North West girls the opportunity to play.
Hannah stepped up to coach the Central Coast rep 17 girls team when they had no coach so she could provide the girls the same opportunity that she was given. She is passionate in the promotion of women’s AFL. Thanks Hannah for providing Central Coast girls an opportunity to play rep AFL.
Emma Mantle: U13 Girls – Warners Bay
Emma Mantle is one of our longest standing Junior female players. She has now transitioned to playing Senior Football at Warners Bay. While completing her HSC this year, she also volunteered to coach the U13 Youth Girls to ensure they are on a great start to their football careers. Emma is an inspirational leader.
Sacha Gratton: U15 Girls – Maitland Saints
Sacha has come from Sydney to coach Maitland with no real support and has minimal players every week. Despite this she continues to inspire the team and is slowly introducing a family friendly approach to the club.
Josie Johnson: Youth Girls, Auskick, Women’s – Port Stephens
Josie is coach of Auskick and the junior coach as well as captain of the women’s team. Josie has worked tirelessly to increase the participation of children, especially girls, at the club. Josie supports the girls to train with the women to improve their skills and fitness. Josie has also encouraged mums to join the women’s team to be footy role models for their kids. Josie is the heart and soul of the club and supports every team from the Seniors to Auskick.
Read more about Josie here.
Katherine Smith: Premier Women’s Coach – Macquarie Uni
Katherine Smith is a star on the field, playing with the GIANTS’ AFLW side, and a gun coach. She’s been an inspirational leader at Macquarie Uni and has been a key driver in the club’s “Pathways Immersion” program, which looks to smooth the way for juniors entering senior competition.
Katie Dean: Premier Men’s Assistant Coach – Sydney University
Katie was a relative latecomer to footy by modern standards, playing her first match as a 17-year-old on the Mornington Peninsular. Fast forward to today and she is an skilled and knowledgeable leader at one of AFL Sydney’s powerhouse clubs. Usually a line coach for Sydney Uni, in Round 10 of the 2022 season, Katie took the reins as head coach where she orchestrated a 108-point victory.
Read more about Katie here.
AFL Sydney Juniors
Margot Faraci: U14 Youth Girls Div 1 – East Sydney Bulldogs
Margot perfectly balances a genuine concern for the girls’ safety, enhancing their skills, having fun and a competitive spirit in her coaching philosophy. Her time and dedication extends well beyond training and game days, contributing many hours planning and preparing. Importantly, the girls adore her.
Emma Byrne and Elin Ladmore: U14 Youth Girls Div 1 – Lane Cove Cats
Emma and Elin play in our U16YG side and are beginning their coaching journey this year. They are new to the role and are applying what they have learned in their playing roles to the girls in the U14YG Div1. It’s exciting to see them both out of their comfort zone, developing leadership skills and a forming a better strategic understanding of game play.
Izzy Tremauville: Balgowlah – U18 Youth Girls
Izzy’s passion for the development of our senior junior girls and ensuring they are strong moving into senior footy is to be commended. She is inclusive, positive, encouraging and is always giving up her time to suggest ways the girls can become stronger and enjoy the game. She is a healthy role model as the girls consider their senior footy.
As a qualified exercise physio, she’s the best fitness, strength and conditioning coach around. And as a Manly Wolves premiership player she’s a role model and shows the pathway from junior to senior footy. Here she is doing the big freeze for MND. She’s part of the change!
AFL Central West
Liz Kennedy: Bathurst – Senior Women’s Coach
Liz was the inaugural Senior Women’s coach of the Bathurst GIANTS when the team formed in 2018. She has coached the team to three grand finals (winning two premierships) and one undefeated Minor Premiership in 2021 before the season was cancelled. Liz manages everything about the team from the game day breakfasts to the backpack that contains everything the team could need. Liz is currently also the Secretary of the GIANTS, stepping into the role after eight years as a member of the Committee.
Dani Distefano: ANU Griffins – Senior Women’s Assistant
Dani is a leader dedicated to making other leaders. Her achievements at the ANU Griffins include captaining a premiership side (2019), players’ player (2019), team of the decade (2011-2020), and now assistant coaching the women’s side. She’s inspiring, talented and generous, and is a credit to our club and to the game.
Kally Gross: Gungahlin – Senior Women’s Assistant
Kally was a part of our inaugural women’s team years and years ago, who after stepping away from footy, decided to return last year. When we lost our coach mid-season last year, Kally stepped up to coach us and has since been an integral part of our club. We appreciate all the positivity and wisdom she pours into us.
AFL Broken Hill
Emma Camilleri, Phoebe Knell, Ash Anderson: Central Broken Hill – Auskick, Youth Girls, Juniors
Emma, Phoebe and Ash are taking great pride in developing the Silver City’s future generation of footballers. As full-time educators, teaching the sport of Aussie Rules is one of their main goals. But they are also helping the junior girls and boys learn about teamwork, camaraderie and resilience. The trio are natural mentors and are always welcoming of new kids to the game.
AFL South Coast
Lyn Robinson: Bomaderry Tigers – U15 Girls
Lyn Robinson is a coach of seven seasons with a smile that beams across the footy field. She has immense respect for her players. The girls she coaches love her and are keen to grow under her guidance. With that, the numbers of our female footy players are increasing. BFC is lucky to have her.
AFL Sapphire Coast
Celine Conrad: Youth Girls – Bega Valley Bombers
Celine has been a staunch supporter of grassroots female footy at our club, the Bega Valley Bombers. She currently coaches our Youth Girls team, which started the season with only six registered players. We now have a cohort of 16 girls, which is a testament to the energy and passion that she brings to the role. Celine is special, and our Club is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer.
Emma McClelland: U12 Youth Girls Coach – Coolamon
I’ve been involved in AFL since a very early age from being the only girl in my local Victorian under 10s team, to playing youth girls school footy and then into senior women’s AFL for the last 15 plus years. Recently I’ve enjoyed being a part of the North Wagga women’s team in the local AFLW competition.
I’ve always believed and have been lucky enough to have great mentors who have taught me over the years that girls and women’s AFL has a place for all types of players, no matter their skills or fitness, all players need is the willingness to give it a go.
I’ve been privileged to coach youth girls AFL for around five years now, this includes the last two season with the Coolamon Rovers. I can honestly say coaching youth girls AFL is truly one of the most rewarding experiences. I’ve had so many amazing coaches over the years who have invested so much time in developing my skills and establishing the amazing competition we have in place for females today. Personally, I just want to try and create an easy and fun environment for all girls to develop their confidence while making friends and learning about AFL.
AFL Northern Rivers
Eliza O’Toole: U15 Girls Skills Coach – Ballina Bombers
As a senior player herself, Eliza brings a level of experience and passion to our U15 Girls team which has had a significant impact to our players’ proficiency and game confidence. Always first to deliver an inspiring half time rev up to the group, as well as personal 1:1 positive feedback and encouragement. Having overcome losing her family’s home in the Lismore floods, Eliza is a strong role model and asset to the AFL and to our team week in week out.
Michelle Scott: Kickability – Penrith Giants
Michelle goes above and beyond as a coach of children on the Autism spectrum. She makes there experience fun and inclusive, with parents impressed at her dedication.
Leone Doyle: Auskick Coach, U12 Youth Girls Manager – Maroubra Saints
Leone is our Auskick U6 coach and manager, and U12 YG manager who also regularly jumps in as an assistant coach on game day or training. Ever supportive of girls footy and although she’s learning she always working to be a great mentor and support to the kids
Hayley Kirk: Maroubra Saints
Hayley contributed to boys and girls coaching as well as acting grounds manager with her kids helping her. She gives so much every weekend and also mentors new coaches (like me). I have so much respect for her. She champions girls and women in AFL and has so much time for others. She is brilliant.
Roz Thomas, Blue Mountains Kangaroos (since 1999!)
Roz joined the Kangaroos in their inaugural year and has remained ever since. In that time, she has married and raised a family, and still remains one of the most active, effective and most-loved Auskick coaches in the GWS region. Based at Falconbridge, you can find Roz on Sunday mornings at Tom Hunter Park, leading parents and kids in fun games, only now, she is fostering the next generation of her family to help support her efforts, with her son joining her to help deliver Auskick.
Read more about Roz here.
Lilian Hoskins, Ramsgate Rams
Despite no longer having children involved at the club, Lilian continues to guide one of the best Auskick programs around. She is a much-loved and treasured community club person, fully supportive of the work of AFL NSW/ACT and fully committed to the philosophies of Auskick.
Chloe Davis, Westbrook Bulldogs Auskick
Chloe agreed to help the Bulldogs with Auskick a few years ago, while working a casual staff development officer with AFL NSW/ACT. She has helped stabilise and grow the club while helping to develop the next round of Auskick coaches. We expected Chloe to move on from her role when she ceased working as a casual staff member, but she again answered the call and this year implemented the inaugural Sydney North Girls Gala Day for young Auskick girls in northern Sydney.