Assistant coach round-up: former AFLW boss, triple-flag Lion among confirmed signings

AN AFL triple-premiership player, a former AFLW coach and an ex-AFL skipper headline the list of confirmed AFLW assistant coaches.

Clubs are pulling together their coaching lists to assist the 14 senior coaches and below are the publicly announced coaching panels. 


The Lions' coaching group - set to work alongside Craig Starcevich - is once again stacked with AFL experience.

Regular AFLW assistants Daniel Merrett and Brent Staker will once again work as assistants but have swapped ends of the ground.

Staker will take charge of the backline while Merrett will work with the forwards, having worked with their old line groups for three seasons.

Clark Keating is looking after the midfield and ruck group, with assistance at times from premiership teammate Simon Black, while academy coach Phil Lovett joins as development coach.


It will be a revamped assistant coaching panel working under new coach Steve Symonds.

Backline coach Chloe McMillan will still look after defence, but has been promoted to a full-time role including the VFLW coaching position.

Chris Clifton is the new senior assistant coach and is in charge of the midfield, fresh off taking AFL Canberra Women's side Queanbeyan to a flag. 

The forward line will be run by Mat Creeper, who hails from Central Australia but has most recently worked as an assistant coach under Symonds with SANFLW side Norwood.

Collingwood AFL players Brodie Grundy (pictured) and Jordan Roughead as well as delisted Pie Lynden Dunn will assist as specialist coaches.


There have been two additions made to Fremantle's coaching panel supporting Trent Cooper, with former AFL players Garrick Ibbotson (pictured) and Aaron Sandilands sharing their expertise with the squad.

Lisa Webb - who is expecting her second child in January, and played for the Dockers in 2018 - will hand the defensive reins over to Ibbotson, and instead take on an opposition and strategy role.

Sandilands will be a ruck coach for both the AFL and AFLW lists.

Another former Docker in Amy Lavell will continue her role as forwards coach, as will senior assistant Craig Thomas (midfield). Kate Starre will also continue high performance manager.


The Cats have made two changes to their assistant coaching ranks alongside Paul Hood.

Former North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson will look after the forward line, while Modewarre and Cats NGA coach Josh Finch joins as a development coach.

Senior assistant Nat Wood (also in charge of the midfield), Geelong defender Tom Stewart (pictured, backline) and development coach David Morgan will continue in their 2019 roles.


The Suns have brought four assistant coaches on board to assist David Lake in the club's first AFLW season, including a triple AFL premiership player in Darryl White.

The former Lion will take charge of the backline, as well as looking after the team's taller players.

Ex-North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow (pictured), whose brother David captains the Suns' AFL side, is the midfield and "technical" assistant coach.

John Taylor (forwards) and QAFLW side Coolangatta's Matt Bedford (development coach and runner) round out the coaching group.

The quartet previously worked with Lake at the Suns during the QW Winter Series.


There have been two changes to Alan McConnell's coaching panel.

New backline coach Darren Ratten has previously worked as a development coach with the club's Academy and NEAFL side.

Kristy Sutcliffe, assistant coach of AFL Sydney women's side Macquarie Uni, will be a development coach, having previously worked with the club's VFLW invitational side.

Senior assistant Roger Moten has moved from defence to the midfield, while Jon Vlatko will continue to work with the forwards.

The Giants will look to AFL players Heath Shaw, Shane Mumford and Sam Reid as specialist coaches, while teammate Matt Buntine will work in a player welfare role.


The Demons have added to former players - one from the AFL and one from the AFLW - to their coaching group under the tutelage of Mick Stinear.

Corey Maynard (pictured below) will run the midfield after the departure of Sam Radford to the club's VFL side, while Brooke Patterson will be a development coach for the backline.

Jane Lange was an assistant coach in 2018 and spent this season just gone as a development coach in order to spend some more time with her family. She is now a senior assistant in charge of game style and education.

Pat McKenna (defence), Peter Mercoulia (forwards) and development coaches Justin Crough (midfield) and Jon Stinear (forwards) continue in their roles.


Scott Gowans will once again take charge of the Roos, but with a new-look coaching panel.

Tasmania's under-18 assistant coach Jamieson Smalley is in charge of the Tasmanian contingent, taking over from Trent Bartlett.

Brett Gourley (forwards) comes via the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro boys' program, while Nick Rutley (defence) has spent time at Carlton AFLW and Dandenong Stingrays.

Midfield coach Lauren Moorecroft is returning for a second year, as is AFLW coaching consultant Dean Rice (pictured).

VFLW assistant coach Cheyne Webster is in a brand new role of IDP coordinator, focusing on individual development of players.


Three line assistants will join senior coach Tom Hunter in Richmond's first AFLW season.

Senior assistant Jacob Thompson will be in charge of the midfield, having previously been head coach of Essendon's James Hird Academy and captaining Calder Cannons in 2009.

Forwards coach Jason Armistead (pictured) has crossed from leading Geelong Falcons' girls side, while former Adelaide defender Sam Shaw (backline) is also head coach at Xavier College.

Nathan Chapman will take the role of specialist coach, focusing on skill acquisition, while VFLW assistant Liz Quinn is in charge of culture and leadership.


The Saints are yet to announce their full coaching panel to work underneath Peta Searle, but two names are already public.

Former Hawthorn VFLW premiership coach Paddy Hill will be an assistant with the AFLW side before taking the reins of VFLW side Southern Saints (previously held by Searle).

Farren Ray (pictured), who played AFL at St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, will be the midfield coach for the AFLW side. He has previously coached at Wesley College.


The Eagles have finalised their first AFLW coaching group to work with senior coach Luke Dwyer.

Former Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan (pictured) has been named forwards coach while 2006 Norm Smith medallist Andrew Embley will take charge of the midfield.

Brady Grey worked with Fremantle's AFLW midfielders when he played for the club's AFL side, and will be the structures and skills coach, with Andrew Di Loreto – head coach at WAFLW side Claremont – is the backline coach.

Ryan Turnbull, who played in the club's 1994 flag, is ruck coach.


New coach Nathan Burke has confirmed his coaching panel, with former AFL players Jamie Shanahan (St Kilda and Melbourne) and Jack Fitzpatrick (Melbourne and Hawthorn) appointed to assistant coaching positions, while ex-Carlton player Jaryd Cachia will take on a development coach role.

Claire Heffernan coached Aberfeldie’s senior women’s side to the Essendon District Football League premiership this year and will join Cachia as a development coach.

Former club captain Bob Murphy (pictured) has been named leadership and environment coach, while Dave Bartlett and Andrew Shakespeare will continue in their respective roles as assistant coach and skill acquisition coach.

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