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Cowan departs Freo

Fremantle’s inaugural AFL Women’s coach Michelle Cowan has advised the club that she will not seek an extension to her contract, which was due to expire on 30 April.

Cowan, who was appointed senior coach in July 2016, had been in discussions with Fremantle regarding extending her contract, however has now advised the club of her decision to pursue other opportunities.

Fremantle CEO Steve Rosich acknowledged the significant contribution Cowan made to both Fremantle and the AFLW during her tenure and also confirmed that a review of the club’s AFLW operations was ongoing.

“A review of  our AFLW operations, chaired by general manager of football operations Chris Bond, is underway and has been tasked to ensure that we are maximising our AFLW team’s performance,” Rosich said.

“The ongoing review of our AFLW operations will now include seeking a new senior coach for our AFLW team.

“Michelle has played an integral role in laying the foundations for what was the first ever AFLW team in WA.

“At Fremantle we are very proud to have been granted WA’s first AFLW licence and we thank Michelle for her work both on and off-field.

“Michelle has made a significant contribution in getting our women’s team up and running and also more broadly to the promotion and participation of women’s football.

“Michelle’s contribution has been evidenced by the energy, passion and enthusiasm she brought to the club and to her role as senior coach of our inaugural AFLW team.

“We wish Michelle and her family all the very best for the future.”

Addressing staff today after earlier advising the AFLW playing group that she would not be extending her contract, Cowan said it was both an easy and a difficult decision to relinquish the role.

“It was difficult in the sense that I am passionate about the role and love the job but easy because it will allow me to spend more time with our young children,” Cowan said.

Cowan also said she was grateful to have been given the opportunity to coach WA’s first AFLW team.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to be the inaugural AFLW coach at Fremantle and I will be forever grateful to the club for giving me this opportunity,” Cowan said.

“It has been an exciting time in the development of the national women’s league, and to have played the first AFLW game in front of over 40,000 spectators at the new Optus Stadium was a thrill for the whole club.

“I have immensely enjoyed working with the playing group and Fremantle staff over the last two seasons.

“I have complete confidence that the club will continue to build on the foundations we have laid, and I wish Fremantle well for the upcoming season and beyond.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs