Daniel Pratt says he will have plenty of people to bounce ideas off as he embarks on the latest chapter of his coaching career.
The 37-year-old, who has served as an assistant in West Coast’s AFL program for the past six years, was confirmed as the Eagles’ new AFLW senior coach on Wednesday.
He takes over the role from inaugural coach Luke Dwyer, who opted to take an alternative career path amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pratt said he was excited to lead his own team having honed his coaching skills in a variety of development roles for the past 13 years.
“This is another great opportunity for me to continue to develop and learn,” Pratt told 6PR’s Sportsday WA program.
“I’ve done most roles except coach my own team, so to be able to do that at West Coast under a lot of people I already know and get support from, it’s a really good opportunity.”
Pratt said he would call on a number of people for advice in his maiden campaign as a senior coach, including his father, who has been mentoring female footballers in regional Victoria for several years.
The former Brisbane and North Melbourne player said his dad had already offered him a few tips upon learning of his appointment.
“I’m fortunate that I’ve got my old man who has coached women for the last few years in country Victoria and he keeps talking about the energy that they bring no matter what,” Pratt said.
“During the COVID period in Victoria the girls still wanted to train and I think he had to pull the reigns up on a few of them because they were that keen to get going.”
Pratt will also have the full support of Adam Simpson, who brought him to West Coast when he was appointed senior coach of the Eagles’ AFL side, and an experienced coaching panel that boasts many years’ of work in the women’s game.
“Obviously Simmo is one of my good mates along with someone I’ve coached with over the last six or seven years; he’ll be someone I can lean on,” Pratt said.
“(My fellow coaches) keen as mustard to get started and they’ve all had experience with women’s football, in particular Michelle (Cowan). She is going to be great support for me, especially over the coming months.
“And (back line coach) Andrew (Di Loreto) as well, as he’s been involved in women’s football for a number of years now. I’ve got those guys to lean on and we’ve also got Brady Grey, who coached midfield last year. It will be great having him on board again this year.
“I’ve got good support around me and I’m looking forward to rounding myself off as a coach.”
With pre-season formally commencing on Wednesday, the new senior coach made it clear his No.1 priority would be building relationships with his players and new colleagues.
However, he was already optimistic about what the group could achieve on the back of their efforts this year.
“I did watch as a spectator last year; I watched all their games and I thought the effort, energy and intent to work for one another was really good,” Pratt said.
“I’ve got a lot of things to work with, which sometimes you don’t get at other clubs that I’ve been involved with over the journey. If you turn up and what to have a crack you are halfway there, so I’m really looking forward to that.
“I think half of our list have only been involved in one season of AFL Women’s and it’s been going for a few years now, so with the experience we do have with a couple of our players the growth we might get in the next couple of 12-24 months with these girls playing over 20 to 30 games of footy will really help.
“Hopefully the learnings they got from last year and the continual development will help us be really competitive (next) year.”