Rebecca McGowan: The woman behind the success


By Sophie Steele

When we think about the journey to playing at AFL level, what often comes to mind are the brutal training sessions, recovery, discipline, preparation, backing from a coach and the endless support from Mum and Dad.

Whilst these elements are crucial in developing elite athletes, for our NSW/ACT Rams there is one woman who takes them one step further to their dream.

AFL NSW/ACT Talent Logistics and Events Manager Rebecca McGowan holds the role of organising and facilitating travel, accommodation and itinerary for whole playing squads, staff and coaches from across the region.

Bringing a team together for a game at the elite level comes with its many challenges, with Geographic’s being at the top of the list.

“We could have players from Broken Hill, Moruya, Sydney, Canberra, Port Macquarie or Griffith to name a few, but every player is treated the same to get them to the one location for game day” Said McGowan.

“I suppose the behind the scenes is the most important part of my role and sometimes the most challenging. A lot of people don’t see what has been booked, organised etc., until they are part of it and travelling to the destination. Every minor detail has to be ticked off to make the experience as seamless for the players and coaching staff so that they can get on with what their good at”

NSW/ACT State coach Tadhg Kennelly believes the talent program would not survive without the hard work McGowan puts in.

“The talent program would absolutely stall were it not for the work Rebecca McGowan does for the players, staff and coaches. From my perspective the work she does behind the scenes, which goes unnoticed allows me to just concentrate on coaching. She is an invaluable part of the NSW/ACT program and her passion and professionalism to help the players succeed is infectious”

While there are long hours and extensive travel involved, the positives outweigh the negatives for McGowan.

“To see players grow/develop during their journey gives you a real buzz. Not just on the football field but in every aspect of their life. Not every player makes an AFL list and that’s a reality, but I hope the experiences they have along the way makes them better people in whatever they do”

“AFL Draft night is special when a NSW/ACT players name is read out and watching on TV when a player from NSW/ACT makes their debut is special. There are so many things that I love about what I do, but to watch a player that has been through our system, make the ‘big time’, and be able to come and give back to our program is the real winner for me!” Said McGowan.

With players like Jacob Hopper and Callum Mills drafted in 2015 as a result of the academies and talent program, McGowan believes the future is exciting for NSW/ACT.

“Our kids can play the game, and if we can continue to give them more and more opportunities to be exposed at the highest level we are heading in a very good direction”

“The work the two academies do in collaboration with us has certainly benefited players in every region of NSW/ACT. The years that lay ahead will no doubt experience change, but I believe the talent pool will continue to rise as programs are tweaked in the best interests of all players involved” Said McGowan.