Fremantle Dockers life member Garrick Ibbotson has returned to the club as its new AFLW backline coach for the 2020 NAB AFL Women’s season.

A 177-game player for Fremantle between 2007 and 2017, Ibbotson shone as a quick intercept defender and was named in the 40-man All Australian squad in 2015. 

Ibbotson joins Fremantle’s AFLW coaching team with former backline coach Lisa Webb taking on a new role as Fremantle’s AFLW opposition and strategy coach.

With Webb expecting her second child in January, the addition of Ibbotson means Fremantle will have defensive coaching coverage throughout the 2020 season. 

Fremantle senior manager of football operations Joe Brierty was delighted to have Ibbotson join the AFLW coaching team.

“It’s fantastic to be able to bring back a life member of the club and we’re really excited to have Garrick join our AFLW coaching team.” Brierty said.

“He has a wealth of football knowledge, having competed for more than a decade at the highest level. We know that he is a great person and our backline will only benefit from him coming on board.” 

“We knew that Lisa was expecting her second child during the season, so Garrick’s addition means we have that flexibility in our coaching structure, however, we are thrilled that Lisa has committed for the 2020 season as our opposition and strategy coach.

“Lisa will also continue to play a major role in mentoring our playing group, something she is very passionate about and we’re sure she’ll be a great sounding board for Garrick as he takes on the new role.” 

Ibbotson said he was thrilled to return to Fremantle as a coach and was excited to be involved in the AFL Women’s competition.

“It’s a bit different walking through the club, not as a player anymore, but it’s great to be back at Freo taking on the defensive coaching role with our AFLW team. I’m looking forward to getting started,” Ibbotson said.

“As a spectator, seeing the development of the AFLW over the past three years, it’s just improved so quickly.

“I was in the changerooms pre-game at Freo Oval last year and that was the main tipping point that made me want to be a part of the program. 

“To see how much the girls were enjoying their footy, it struck me as a really good opportunity and something I was really keen to get involved with.”

Ibbotson said his love for football inspired him to take up coaching the game. 

“I’ve always had the itch to be a part of football once I retired,” Ibbotson said. 

“I’ve since spent a couple of years with my family. We had my daughter Matilda three months after I finished so that was a good transition for me to step away from footy and have other responsibilities.

“Having been a part of the game for so long, I was always keen to get back in some shape or form. Having the defensive coach position open up and it being at Fremantle, it was something I was really keen to have a go at.” 

The addition of Ibbotson means Fremantle are close to finalising their coaching and management structure for the 2020 season. 

“The AFLW program went from strength to strength last season, lead by Darryn Fry and Trent Cooper," Brierty said.

"We can’t wait see our players continue to improve and grow in the 2020 season with the coaching structure and high-performance program that will be put around them.”

AFLW manager – Darryn Fry
AFLW senior coach – Trent Cooper
AFLW high performance manager – Kate Starre
AFLW senior assistant & midfield coach – Craig Thomas
AFLW forwards coach – Amy Lavell
AFLW backline coach – Garrick Ibbotson
AFLW opposition and strategy coach – Lisa Webb