'Kicking down the door': Hawks appoint first all-female coaching panel

HAWTHORN has appointed an all-female coaching panel for the 2021 VFLW season, led by former Adelaide premiership coach Bec Goddard.

Goddard is yet to coach her first official VFLW game, having originally been brought into the club for the 2020 season, which was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. 

Former Carlton VFLW assistant Christina Polatajko (named the 2019 AFL Victoria female coach of the year) has joined the Hawks, while Hayley Gregory returns to Waverley as an assistant. 

Chelsea Randall, Bec Goddard (centre) and Erin Phillips with the premiership cup after defeating Brisbane in the inaugural NAB AFLW Grand Final at Metricon Stadium on March 25, 2017. Picture: Michael Willson

Former Collingwood AFLW ruck Lou Wotton, ex-Hawk Steph Carroll and Natasha Beck (joining from NAB League's Dandenong Stingrays) are the development coaches.

"Overt action is the key to getting diversity in roles across the AFL and it takes brave leadership to make bold moves like this," Goddard told Hawthorn's website.

"This coaching panel combined with Hawthorn’s support, is kicking down the door to these opportunities so others can walk through them."

The Hawks are the first AFL club to appoint an all-female coaching panel for its VFLW side; the same decision was previously made by standalone VFLW club Darebin.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn has also announced that the Federal Government has made a $15 million investment into its Kennedy Community Centre project.


The project stands to top the $100 million mark and Hawthorn expects the Victorian Government to chip in, despite president Jeff Kennett's ongoing stoush with Premier Daniel Andrews.

The Kennedy Community Centre will feature:

  • A community pavilion and oval built to ensure gender equal facilities and public amenities, specifically for community use and engagement
  • Flexible education and learning spaces enabling delivery of flagship, partnered programs that mentor, lead, educate and inspire
  • An indoor stadium for community basketball, netball, volleyball, and wheelchair AFL
  • A main oval and the Harris Elite Training and Administration Facility which will cater for all Hawthorn teams equally 
  • Administrative spaces for community and not-for-profit organisations to share the club’s resources, creating a healthy, inclusive, and cohesive culture through participation and sport