AFL to appoint new Head of Women’s Football

Contributions by Kirby Fenwick

The AFL is currently in the process of hiring a willing candidate for the newly created position of Head of Women’s Football, following the announcement that the AFLW will expand to a 14-team competition by 2020.

The successful applicant will be charged with the task of leading the growth of the women’s game through the next three years and beyond, ensuring there are plenty of talent pathways to bolster the AFLW.

Richmond President Peggy O’Neal is one candidate who would be well suited to the Head of Women’s Football position. Image: Jake Nowakowski

One of the concerns some fans have regarding the quick expansion is the potential dilution of the talent pool. It will be a large part of the appointed candidate’s role to ensure this is a non-issue.

Working with the new Head of Competitions & Player Movement – another newly created position given to Josh Vanderloo, an unsung hero who has worked tirelessly within the AFL House walls to help establish the top tier women’s competition – the Head of Women’s Football will essentially oversee the women’s game.

The AFL’s expression of interest form for the position highlights the key responsibilities of growing female participation, talent development, audience growth, attendance, AFLW competition management, and player and club education and development.

It comes after calls for the AFL to create the position following numerous occasions in the past 12 months of AFLW-related tasks being put on the back-burner.

The new appointment will allow the AFLW to operate smoothly and hopefully make these oversights a thing of the past.

The position is expected to be filled within the next month, giving the successful applicant just shy of three months to prepare engagement strategies ahead of the 2018 AFLW season.

It is believed that the AFL is looking for someone with both a background in football and the know-how to get the job done.

A handful of women immediately come to mind, all who would thrive in the role:

Major General Simone Wilkie, AFL Commissioner and chair of the AFL’s women’s football advisory group.

Jan Cooper, current AFL Manager of Female Football Development and a strong advocate for the development of women’s football.

Peggy O’Neal, a well-respected and regarded lawyer and current president of Richmond Football Club, a position she was appointed to in 2013, after having served on Richmond’s board since 2005.

Sam Mostyn, former AFL Commissioner and current member of the Sydney Swans board of directors, who was instrumental in getting the AFLW off the ground.

Chyloe Kurdas, former player and coach, and board member of the VWFL. Worked with AFL Victoria on growing grassroots participation in women’s football and developing high performance programs.

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