December 2023 brought one of the biggest appointments in the club’s history, with icon Daisy Pearce signing on as the West Coast Eagles’ AFLW senior coach.

Arguably the most influential and respected figure in the women’s game, Pearce did it all as a premiership captain, three-time All-Australian and triple best and fairest-winner at Melbourne.

Following her playing retirement in 2022, Pearce transitioned into coaching in a development role with the Geelong AFL side in 2023, before relocating to Perth and joining the Eagles ahead of the 2024 AFLW season.

“We’ve settled in well, the kids are doing well at school which is good, that makes things easier,” Pearce said.

“I’m enjoying time at the club and getting to know the people here more and more every week.”

Having spent some time integrating into the Eagles’ program, Pearce is pleased with what she’s seen within the club so far.

“My initial impressions have been really welcoming and proud,” Pearce said.

“Both programs (AFL and AFLW) are in similar positions, wanting to develop and improve, and there’s been a really good sense of wanting to make sure the women’s team is a really big part of that.

“Don (Pyke) started at a similar time to what I did, so I think for those who have been here for a long time, there’s been quite a few changes and new ideas coming through and I think that will be really good for the women’s program.

“It’s been a good time to come in and be a part of that new wave.”

Taking on the responsibility of a senior coaching role has been an adjustment, but Pearce said she’s loving the challenge.

“I’m loving it, it’s been hard work,” Pearce said with a smile.

“When you ask if I was expecting it, that’s what everyone always says about senior coaching, just managing so many different people and making a lot of decisions every day, some of them you may not feel qualified to answer or haven’t had to really think about before.

“I’m loving the challenge and even when the workload is high, and you have those little moments of feeling a little overwhelmed, even in those moments, I feel like I’m in the right place which is a good feeling.”

June 1 marked the official start date for the AFLW pre-season, with Pearce and the team raring to get underway ahead of the 2024 season.

“We can’t wait, it’s been a long build up because we started training in January,” Pearce said of the voluntary sessions.

“We built up to the point where we played some practice matches at the end of April, early May, and it’s been nice to have a bit of a freshen up.

“Now we can take it to another level with the full program up and running and full staffing, and really get into it, especially now with the fixture out, it makes it all feel very real and puts a time stamp on things.

“It’s exciting and we’re really looking forward to it. I think it’s been as valuable for us as coaches and staff to have the time that we’ve had, learning to working together and iron out a few processes so we’re feeling well equip for everything pre-season will bring.”

AFLW teams will play one additional game this season, with the Eagles kicking off their campaign with two games at home. 

“Eleven games is one game closer to 17 which is good, it will be good when we get to that stage of playing everyone once,” Pearce said.

“A good fixture is one that you know, and now we can start to plan and make the best of so, we would have been prepared to go anywhere and play whoever we need to.

“It’s landed in a good place, nice to kick off with a couple of home games so we can build some momentum for our fan base here in Perth and launch into the season.

“I’m looking forward to it, it makes it feel very real when it’s all confirmed on paper and you can start scheming on a deeper level so, exciting times.”