The Fremantle Dockers today confirmed the appointment of Michelle Cowan as senior coach of the club’s inaugural WA team in the AFL’s new national women’s league.
Fremantle CEO Steve Rosich said Cowan was a standout choice to coach the club’s new women’s team, one of eight sides in the national league which is scheduled to start in 2017.
“It’s a very exciting development for the club to have the inaugural WA team in the new national women’s league,” Rosich said.
“We set a premium on securing both a high quality person and experienced coach for what is a crucial role, in the first instance to get the team up and running and for the team’s future success in the longer-term.
“Michelle was the standout candidate for the position of senior coach of our women’s team. Among her many attributes, including coaching experience, knowledge of the game and people management skills, is her proven ability to attract and retain players.”
Rosich said Cowan would work closely with Fremantle’s general manager of strategic projects Brad Paatsch, who will have executive responsibility for the women’s team and Wade Spilcker, who will be team manager under his broader responsibilities as the club’s national women’s league, academies and community operations manager.
Cowan, who has been coach of Melbourne’s women’s team since 2013 and also worked as a development coach with the Demons until earlier this month, said she was looking forward to the challenge and pleased to be returning home to Perth.
Fremantle win licence for inaugural WA women's team
“I’m excited to be a part of this football club and moving forward with the national women’s league,” Cowan said.
“Women have been playing the game for over 100 years now and it’s great that we now have a complete pathway and girls get the opportunity to represent an AFL club.
“It’s a big thing, and I’m really grateful for (AFL CEO) Gillon McLachlan’s leadership on this and making it happen sooner rather than later.
“It’s a really exciting time for the AFL.”
Cowan has an impressive sporting resume and has been involved in the football industry for more than 16 years, including starting out as a WA-based scout and match analyst for Geelong in 2000.
The former State cricketer and golfer, who has also previously held roles as senior coach of the WA youth girls team and the WA women’s team, said WA was brimming with talent.
“There’s some super talent out there, and I’m really looking forward to working with the girls we draft,” Cowan said.
“Hopefully, we can have some great success.”
Michelle Cowan bio
• WA-based scout and match analyst for Geelong FC, 2000 to 2001
• Assistant coach, WAFL senior and reserves teams West Perth, 2004 to 2005
• First woman to coach football at State level, 2004
• Senior coach WA youth girls, 2013 and 2014
• AFL Football Women of the Year, 2013
• Assistant coach WAFL senior and reserves teams South Fremantle, 2013 to 2015
• Head coach Melbourne FC women’s team, 2013 to 2016
• Senior coach WA open women's team, 2015
• Level 3 High Performance AFL Coach
• Manager of own national training company, 2006 - current
• Former State cricketer and golfer.