For the love of the game: Former North coach joins Pies

FORMER North Melbourne senior coach Scott Gowans has found a new home at Collingwood.

Gowans was an early victim of the cost-cutting associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and, despite an 11-3 win-loss record, his contract was not renewed at the Kangaroos.

He has joined Magpies coach Steve Symonds' ranks as a senior assistant coach in charge of the midfield and ball movement, and has already been involved in the small COVID-safe training sessions at the club.

"A few people have asked why I've taken this role, seeing it as a bit of a step back, but for me it was all about continuing to be involved with the game I love," Gowans told womens.afl

"Getting my voice in over Sharni (Layton) is a bit difficult, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge of taking a new midfield group."

YOUR CLUB'S DRAFT All you need to know about the 57 new faces

Ironically, the last game Gowans coached at North Melbourne was a nail-biting semi-final win (watch the highlights in the player below) over Collingwood, the day before the 2020 NAB AFLW season was shut down due to the pandemic.

AFLW Match Highlights: North Melbourne v Collingwood

05:03 Mar 21. 2020. 2:33 PM

The Kangaroos and Magpies clash in a semi-final of the AFLW

"We (North) were lucky to get over them in that final. Another day, Chloe Molloy kicks that (final) goal and they win. Steve and I talk a lot about that game, and different tactics both teams used. It was a really tactical game," he said. 

"I think Collingwood are right up there. They were unlucky to lose to Fremantle, looking at possessions and inside 50s, they took it right up to them, and they also beat Carlton. They're right in the mix, and with a good pre-season and the right draft picks, they should be right up there again.

"To me, Mikala Cann is the type of player who as an opposition coach, I thought was a role player. But just in the short bit I've seen her, she has so many attributes to move into the midfield and become a star. She could be anything if she wants to be." 

Mikala Cann cops one high from Belinda Smith during the Eagles' round one clash with Collingwood at Victoria Park in February. Picture: Michael Willson

Gowans was in preliminary discussions with Richmond for its senior coaching role – which remains vacant – but said "the timing just didn't really work out".

"I had some fantastic chats with Neil Balme and Kate Sheahan, we had a few coffees before the most recent lockdown. They were very honest with where they were, and they didn't have anything to offer at that stage," Gowans said.

"They were waiting on things falling into place at 'clubland' which were out of their hands. We were very keen to progress further, but (Collingwood head of women's sport) Jane Woodlands-Thompson rang and asked if I was interested in a role at the Pies. 

"Steph Chiocci (who previously worked with Gowans at Diamond Creek), to her credit, can be very persuasive, and she badgered me for a few weeks. In the end, I just decided I wasn't going to wait around and possibly miss out altogether. 

"Steve was one of the first coaches to ring me when the North Melbourne thing happened, and he's a guy that's similar to me in the way he goes about it, so it just made sense to take it. Three weeks later the job was advertised, but I never thought 'I've missed out'."

Collingwood has rounded out the remainder of its coaching panel with James Debono (forwards and strength and conditioning) and AFL player Jordan Roughead, who has previously worked with the AFLW side but will take on more responsibility as backline coach. 

Chloe McMillan will once again have a dual role as an AFLW development/VFLW senior coach.