The West Coast Eagles have appointed experienced coach Daniel Pratt to lead the club into its second AFLW campaign.
Pratt landed the coveted role following a thorough recruitment process in which several talented candidates were interviewed for the top job.
He takes the reins of West Coast’s women’s side having served as an assistant coach in the club’s AFL program from 2014, including the successful 2018 campaign. Pratt replaces inaugural coach Luke Dwyer, who opted to take an alternative career path following the club’s first season.
The 37-year-old has an extensive history in the game, having built an impressive resume at several clubs before joining former Kangaroos teammate Adam Simpson as part of his coaching structure six years ago.
Pratt, who played three games for Brisbane in 2004 and registered 116 AFL appearances for North Melbourne from 2005-2011, started his coaching journey under Dale Tapping as a development coach with TAC Cup side Sandringham Dragons in 2008 while still representing the Kangaroos.
Following a two-year stint at the Dragons he assisted Steven Kretiuk at the Western Jets from 2010-2011 before taking on a player-coach role at VFL side Box Hill Hawks from 2012-2013.
On arrival at West Coast he initially served as a development coach for the team’s emerging defenders and from 2015-2016 he played an integral role in managing the Eagles’ team defence.
From 2017-2019 Pratt directed the function of West Coast’s backline, helping the Eagles claim the 2018 premiership in the process.
And in 2020 he was tasked with overseeing the team’s stoppages, structures and contested play.
Pratt will be supported by a team of experienced line coaches: Michelle Cowan and Jo Beechey (forward line), Brady Grey and Ryan Turnbull (midfield) and Andrew Di Loreto (back line).
Head of Female football Adam Selwood said the club was thrilled to have someone of Pratt’s calibre coaching its AFLW team.
“We had many great candidates and we were able to lower that down to six – three internal and three external,” Selwood said.
“We felt the strengths that Daniel was able to bring to the role, like his enthusiasm, was one that will be able to take the program forward and connect with the players as best as possible.
“Daniel’s had varied experiences, not only with different lines in the men’s program, but also as a development coach. He did a lot of coaching at the under 18s level in Victoria and also at Box Hill Hawks.
“He understands the requirements not only with AFL and AFLW, but also that semi-professional lifestyle.
“I think that will hold him in good stead in terms of what he can get out of the program in the limited time that we have while ensuring that we hold high standards and execute a program really well.”
Pratt said he was excited to begin a new chapter in his coaching career.
“I’ve been an assistant for a long time now and this is a great opportunity, particularly on the back of the enthusiasm and effort the girls brought last year,” Pratt said.
“After all the coaching experience I’ve gathered over the past 12 years I now get to step into the women’s program as the senior coach, which is going to be another fantastic opportunity for me to not only develop as a coach but also to be part of a really important program for this football club.
“My first priority will be building relationships and getting to know everyone. I see the girls around the club all the time and the work they put in is really inspiring.
“I was fortunate enough to watch all of the team’s games last year as a supporter and I was really enthused by their energy, commitment to the contest and the way they worked for each other
“We have several players with plenty of experience, but most of the girls are only six games into their AFLW career, so for me it’s about finding the next part of our game around finishing and kicking a winning score.
“We’ll work hard on how we convert, how we get more forward entries and how we defend behind our entries.
“But initially building relationships is going to be the number one priority.”
2021 West Coast Eagles AFLW coaching panel:
Senior coach: Daniel Pratt
Forward line: Michelle Cowan and Jo Beechey
Midfield: Brady Grey and Ryan Turnbull
Backline: Andrew Di Loreto