HAWTHORN VFLW assistant coach Christina Polatajko has earned the AFLCA women's coaching pathway scholarship for 2021.
GWS skipper Alicia Eva won the inaugural scholarship in 2019, with former Magpie and current Bendigo Pioneers and Vic Country assistant Emma Grant last year's recipient.
The scholarship was this year expanded from AFLW players to also include those coaching and playing in state leagues.
"Christina is a standout winner. Her creativity, leadership, communication skills, passion and dedication to coaching and football is inspiring."
Polatajko has previously worked with Carlton's VFLW team and been a two-time premiership coach with VU Western Spurs.
She will receive professional development opportunities and take part in the AFLCA's Next Coach program, as well as receiving mentorship from Hawthorn AFL assistant and former Carlton coach Brendon Bolton.
"Christina is a standout winner. Her creativity, leadership, communication skills, passion and dedication to coaching and football is inspiring," AFLCA CEO Alistair Nicholson said.
"I hope the scholarship helps Christina become an even more successful, long-term coach in our national game."
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Polatajko said she was grateful for the opportunity.
"I thank the Hawthorn Football Club for their support not only towards me, but towards our female coaches. I cannot wait to get started, to build on my knowledge and development in coaching," she said.
"I believe I have the potential to coach at the highest point within AFLW; this scholarship from the AFL Coaches Association and working closely alongside Brendon Bolton will help me get there.
"I'm just so motivated and love coaching and educating athletes. This is the next step and I'm just so proud to be part of this program and proud that female coaches are getting these opportunities."