Dogs flag coach resigns after three years at helm

WESTERN Bulldogs premiership coach Paul Groves has resigned to take up a position outside of football.

Groves, a secondary school PE teacher by trade, has been offered a role in leadership teaching that suits his growing family better than the demands of football.

He has led the Bulldogs for all three AFLW seasons, taking the team to a flag in 2018, and finishes with a 10-12 win-loss record. 

The club will immediately start searching for a replacement.

"For a long time, I have been planning a career in coaching, but following starting a family with my wife Sarah over the past three years, we together made the decision that coaching within the AFL environment, either in a full-time or part-time capacity, was not a career I wanted to continue to pursue over the coming years," Groves told westernbulldogs.com.au.

"As someone with a long teaching and sporting background, I made the decision over the past few months that I would like to return to pursuing opportunities that combine these two passions of mine.

"Whilst this was a really tough decision to make, I believe it is also in the best interest of my family. I want to be the best dad and husband I can be.

"I also believe it is in the best interest of the club for me to be proactive with this decision, with the view of allowing them time to work through finding an appropriate replacement during the AFLW off-season period.

"This decision coincided with recently being offered a fantastic opportunity to return to a teaching leadership position. An opportunity to pursue my passion for teaching and sport, while also providing me with an opportunity to spend more time with family.

"As a father of two daughters, I feel lucky to have experienced and shared the demands of life with my playing group over the past three years. It has shaped my parenting for the better."

It will be a different Western Bulldogs outfit which takes to the field in 2020, with a new coach at the helm and without stars Katie Brennan, Monique Conti (both Richmond), Tiarna Ernst (Gold Coast) and Libby Birch (Melbourne).

Ashleigh Guest joined the Dogs from Melbourne.

The Western Bulldogs VFLW side (currently sitting third with four wins and one loss) is coached by Sean Kavanagh, while Debbie Lee – an established coach in her own right – is the club's general manager of women's footy.

The Dogs won't be the only AFLW club with a new coach next season after Collingwood appointed former Norwood SANFLW coach Stephen Symonds to its head role last month.