The West Coast Eagles have restructured their AFLW program following ex-Head of Female Football Adam Selwood’s career transition, with experienced coach Michelle Cowan moving into a senior off-field position amid several role changes.
Cowan has taken leadership of the team’s Operations and Player Wellbeing programs, and will remain in a game day role as bench coach while relinquishing her forward line coaching duties.
“Over my career in sport I’ve been predominately coaching athlete performance. In turn, I’ve learnt so much about teams but also myself,” Cowan told westcoasteagles.com.au.
“When the opportunity was presented to oversee the team’s Operations and Wellbeing I saw it as the chance to broaden my strategic administration experience.
“The responsibility for preparing players for life after football, by helping them either grow through study, employment or experiences is a fundamental part of our program which is to the core of the club’s values.
“I’m so proud to support athletes to be the best they can be on and off the field of play.
“I acknowledge the season is only weeks away but I have tremendous comfort in knowing I’m surrounded by great people such as Elly Lambkin, Liana Nici, Jan Cooper and Daniel Pratt who will support me through this transition.”
Meanwhile, internationally-recognised high performance coach Glenn Stewart has also accepted a larger role in the AFLW program.
West Coast's High Performance Manager, Stewart has been a key member of the strength and conditioning staff for almost 30 years and played an integral part in the club’s four premierships.
The fitness guru possesses experience in female athletic performance working alongside coaches at West Coast Fever and the WA Institute of Sport, and will be responsible for AFLW sports science, medical and coach mentoring.
West Coast General Manager - Community and Game Development, Richard O’Connell, was excited to announce the appointments ahead of the Eagles’ second season in the AFLW competition.
“In conversations with Michelle it was evident she was keen to further expand her understanding of the football industry and it’s fantastic we could facilitate this,” said O’Connell, the club’s executive manager who oversees the AFLW program.
“Her on-field experience will be invaluable in the operations of our AFLW program, as well as supporting the players to embrace their potential growth beyond their football careers.
“As we enter year two of our journey we acknowledge there is still much to learn and embrace, and Michelle’s deep understanding of female football combined with Glenn’s international high performance experience means we are well placed to continue laying the cornerstones for future success.”
Following Cowan’s role change, West Coast’s AFLW forwards will now be under 1994 premiership player and 2001 Sandover medallist Ryan Turnbull’s watch, with support from emerging coach Jo Beechy.
The Eagles AFLW program will continue to operate under the umbrella of the club’s Community and Game Development department, which is located alongside and highly collaborative with the AFL program at Mineral Resources Park.