'She'll be banned from this room': The Burke family's divided household

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THE BURKE family will be a divided household once the 2021 NAB AFLW season gets underway, but Alice and Nathan couldn't be happier.

Alice, 18, has recently been confirmed as St Kilda's inaugural father-daughter signing after Nathan played 323 games across a legendary career at the Saints.

But most recently, he is known as the coach of the Western Bulldogs AFLW side, putting him at direct odds with his daughter. 

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"I've got my whiteboard over there with tactics and things on it, so she'll be banned from this room (study) completely," Nathan told womens.afl with a grin, sitting alongside Alice.

"I might try and sneak into her at dinner time, 'How's Peta Searle doing things and how's she setting up her defence?'  

"But no, even when Alice trained down there as part of the AFLW Academy over pre-season, apart from asking 'Are you having fun? How are the girls?', and basic father questions like that, there was really no need to dive into 'How are the Saints doing this?' 

"It's pretty easy to differentiate between the father and the coach getting information. I'm more worried about Peta Searle bugging her and getting information out of me."

Alice is a recent convert to football, having played soccer to a youth national before playing her first full season (at NAB League club Sandringham Dragons, no less) in 2018.

A tough and tenacious midfielder, she's a fierce contested player who follows up with clean skills and a steady head.

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"After every game, Dad's got a rule where he doesn’t give advice unless you come to him for it, so I'd ask him what I did wrong and what I could improve," Alice said.

"One of the things I love about footy is there's so much new stuff to learn. You never really reach that point where you've done everything. 

"Dad had a really good way of – he didn't teach you only what you were doing wrong, but how to identify your own mistakes and how to fix it. 

"In a game, you're not always going to have your coach telling you what you were doing wrong and what to do to fix it. It was really good for me to pick up those environmental cues myself."

But a smiling Nathan quickly interjected.

"That's finished now though, there'll be no more of that," he said.

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Despite Alice's football career being only in its infancy, the pair have already worked together at a high level, with Nathan having led last year's Vic Metro team at the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships.

"I absolved myself of selection duties and put that on other people, but the biggest issue a lot of parents have coaching their own kids is they tend to be harder on their own kids than others," Nathan said. 

"I'm hoping I wasn't too hard on you (Alice), up there in Metro and treated you like all the other players. 

"The Metro experience should be one that's a lot of fun and a highlight of your junior sporting career, so that was the way we approached it, we didn't put a lot of pressure on the girls."

It's pretty easy to differentiate between the father and the coach getting information. I'm more worried about Peta Searle bugging her and getting information out of me

Nathan Burke

Alice – who will wear the same jumper number (three) as her dad at St Kilda after the retirement of Emma Mackie – echoed her dad's view. 

"We were pretty good at differentiating being at home and him being my dad, and him being my coach," Alice said.

"With all the other players around, he never treated me any different to the rest. It was good, he was my coach the whole time. If I did something wrong, he'd tell me I did it wrong.  

"When we had a day off to 'go see our family', Dad and I took one of the team cars down to see (the rest of) our family and he was just my dad again."

The NAB AFLW Draft will be live on womens.afl and the AFLW Official App from 7pm AEDT on Tuesday, October 6