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Could Daisy Pearce be AFL’s first female coach? Yes, according to some experts

Lauren Wood and Kamahl Cogdon, March 3, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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AFLW star Daisy Pearce could head into coaching after her playing career and some footy greats believe she’s got what it takes to become the first female coach of a men’s AFL team. media_cameraAFLW star Daisy Pearce could head into coaching after her playing career and some footy greats believe she’s got what it takes to become the first female coach of a men’s AFL team.

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AFLW star Daisy Pearce could become the first female senior coach in the men’s AFL competition after her decorated playing career.

That is the view of some past and present greats of the game following news that several AFL clubs have sounded out* Pearce on a range of football roles, including assistant coach at Geelong.

She was also offered – but turned down – the inaugural* senior coaching job of Essendon’s AFLW team, which will join the women’s competition next season.

Pearce, 33, is expected to retire from playing at the end of this AFLW season, but she is yet to make an announcement on what her future might hold.

media_cameraMelbourne captain Daisy Pearce leads out her team during a 2020 AFLW match. Picture: AAP Image

Essendon great Tim Watson said the Melbourne captain and a two-time All-Australian had what it takes to be the first female to lead an AFL men’s team.

“If Daisy Pearce decides that coaching is what she wants to do … I think she has the potential to do that (be a senior men’s coach),” he said on SEN radio.

Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon agreed. He said it would be a “huge challenge” for Pearce but “if she sets her mind to it then there’s no limit to where she could get to”.

Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield said Pearce could make the transition to coaching “easily”.

“I was pretty excited (at the possibility of Pearce coming to Geelong),” he said on SEN.

“Whether it’s the Geelong footy club that she comes to – and I’m … hopeful that it is – I’ve got no doubt that she’ll make a terrific coach when she decides to hang up the boots, whenever that may be.”

AFL Practice Match - Geelong v Richmond media_cameraGeelong star Patrick Dangerfield would love Daisy Pearce to coach at Geelong after she finishes her playing career. Picture: Getty Images

Dangerfield said he could “absolutely” see a day where a female was senior coach of a men’s AFL team.

Pearce – who won 10 VWFL premierships with Darebin before the AFLW competition began in 2017 – has not held a coaching role but Dangerfield said the shift would be a natural one.

“She’d do it easily, to be honest,” he said. “She has so much respect within the industry.”

Dangerfield said the increasing involvement of females in football had improved the game, including at the highest levels.

“The great thing is over certainly the past five years but even before then, the balance of women in footy and how integral* they are and how intelligent they are with their views on the game and where the game can head … we’re a stronger industry because of female involvement.

“And we’ll be stronger again with greater female involvement, whether it’s coaching, high-level administration, CEO, however you like it.

“She’s been a huge leader of that.”

Pearce, who is mother to three-year-old twins Sylvie and Roy, is not just a star on the football field. She is also part of the Channel 7 football commentary team.

media_cameraDaisy Pearce celebrates a win with son Roy and daughter Sylvie during the 2020 AFLW season. Picture: AAP Image

She would not be the first female assistant coach of a men’s AFL team. That honour belongs to Peta Searle who was an assistant coach, in the area of development, at St Kilda in 2014. Searle then went on to coach St Kilda’s AFLW team in its first year in the competition in 2020 and in 2021.

If Pearce takes the assistant coach role at Geelong she would work under the mentorship* of senior coach Chris Scott as part of the AFL’s accelerated* coaching program, which is designed to fast-track female coaches.

The accelerated program will see six female coaches employed across the competition for two years, giving them experience in all parts of coaching including match committee meetings, game day roles and mentoring* within clubs. The positions will be co-funded by the club and the AFL.

GLOSSARY

  • sounded out: asked someone for their opinion, thoughts
  • inaugural: marking the beginning of something, the first
  • integral: important, necessary to make something complete
  • mentorship: the guidance provided by a more experienced person
  • accelerated: to make something happen or develop more quickly
  • mentoring: supporting, encouraging and guiding people with less experience

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Which club has sounded out Daisy Pearce about becoming an assistant coach?
  2. How many times has Daisy Pearce been named an All-Australian?
  3. Which current player thinks Daisy Pearce would transition into coaching easily?
  4. What is the name of the first female to be an assistant coach in the AFL?
  5. Which club was this female an assistant coach at?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. A great coach
What makes a great coach? Choose any sport. Write a description of the type of person who would be a great coach in this sport.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education

2. Extension
What do you think should be included in the AFL accelerated coaching program? Write a list of activities and exercises you think would help players like Daisy Pearce develop the skills to become a top-level footy coach.

Next to each activity, write sentences explaining why you have chosen it.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education

VCOP ACTIVITY
I’ve always wanted to know
If you had the opportunity to talk to Daisy Pearce and ask her five questions, what would you ask?

Come up with five different questions. Challenge yourself to use different question stems (question opener words) to write your questions, and don’t forget to end with a question mark.

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