By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood Women’s premiership coach Steve Symonds is bound for the AFLW after being named Collingwood’s new head coach.
Symonds, who guided the Redlegs to the inaugural Statewide Super Women’s League crown in 2017, has played a major role in bringing sustained success to The Parade across the past three seasons.
The 48-year-old boasts more than 20 years of coaching experience at various levels in South Australia, acting as a League assistant at several SANFL clubs prior to his arrival at Woods Street.
“I’d just like to thank the Norwood Football Club for giving me the opportunity to come in and establish a Women’s program from scratch,” Symonds said.
“It’s been a fantastic experience and I have had fantastic support along the way.
“We certainly believe we have started to build a program that is going to be a long and sustainable one, and we are really proud of the culture that we have started to develop.
“Long term, I’d love to be in a position to return back one day in some form of role; hopefully wiser and a more experienced coaching person.”
Collingwood General Manager of Women’s Sport Jane Woodlands-Thompson said Symonds’ experience in establishing the Women’s program at Norwood was pivotal in his selection.
“Stephen’s extensive experience in senior performance football impressed the panel right from the start,” Woodlands-Thompson said.
“Stephen has an impeccable record in developing pre-elite programs and has demonstrated his ability to create and fast-track programs to success.
“We’re really looking forward to having Stephen join and lead our AFLW on-field operations and share in what is expected to be an exciting 2020 campaign.”
Norwood’s women’s team has placed first, second and third under Symonds’ tutelage, this season losing just one minor round match before being edged out of the finals campaign by just two points in the Preliminary Final.
Symonds will assist Collingwood’s VFLW team once he starts with the Magpies in a fortnight as he prepares to familiarise himself with his playing group ahead of the 2020 AFL season.
He joins fellow former SANFL Women’s coaches Narelle Smith (Glenelg) and Krissie Steen (South), who are AFLW assistants with Adelaide and GWS respectively.