A strong South Australian flavour will feature in the inaugural AFLW Coaching Academy, which was launched in Melbourne this month.
Former Glenelg Reserves coach Narelle Smith and South Adelaide SANFLW premiership mentor Krissie Steen have been included in the group of six budding tutors who will be guided by former AFLW Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan.
Smith, who has now joined Adelaide’s AFLW team as an assistant coach, said she was excited to grasp her opportunity after long being considered a female trailblazer in terms of forging a coaching career in SA.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, the former SA Women’s State coach said the program included undertaking the AFL’s Level 3 coaching course as well as forming her own individual development plan.
SANFL State Coaching Manager Dave Reynolds, who established the inaugural SANFLW Coaching Academy earlier this year, said it was imperative female coaches such as Smith and Steen – now at GWS as an assistant – were given a chance to thrive in the elite environment.
”The AFLW Coaching Academy is an elite coach development program which will be extremely beneficial for Narelle and Krissie’s development,” Reynolds said.
”Narelle’s coaching record is extremely impressive having coached at all levels from SAWFL, to SANFL and now AFLW. This year she created history, being the first female coach to guide a senior male SANFL team, as head mentor of the Glenelg Reserves.
”It’s also fantastic to have Krissie involved in this program having proven herself as a quality female coach in winning the SANFLW premiership with South Adelaide in her first year at the helm.
”Narelle and Krissie are terrific role models for female coaches in SA. Their coaching journeys are very important, helping to create belief and acceptance to aspiring female coaches in our game.”
Cowan, who stepped down from her role with the Dockers after guiding them in the opening two seasons of AFLW, said providing developmental support was critical for coaches at all levels.
“I would’ve absolutely loved to have something like this coming through as a new coach. I had incredible male coaching mentors, but to have support like this is a bit different,” Cowan told the AFL website.
”It’s a great program which offers a really supportive environment to six identified coaches coming through pathway, so the opportunity offered to mentor and provide that environment really appealed to me.
“It’s a great initiative and support coming through the elite coaching pathway.”
Picture – AFL MEDIA
CHIEF SANFL WRITER