23 November 2023

Canberra sports pioneer Bec Goddard considers her next move after stepping down as coach of the Hawthorn AFLW team

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra's Bec Goddard set to coach Hawthorn's VFLW team in 2020. Photo: Hawthorn Football Club.

Bec Goddard made history when she set off to coach Hawthorn’s VFLW team in 2020. Photo: Hawthorn Football Club.

Bec Goddard is a trailblazer across so many aspects of Australian Rules that it’s difficult to even list them all.

Simplifying her achievements into player, umpire and coach boxes doesn’t do her justice.

But just to give an overview of her impact, here are some of her achievements: she was the first female field umpire in the men’s NEAFL; the first female coach in the NEAFL as the Canberra Demons midfield forward line coach; she coached the Adelaide Crows to the AFLW premiership in the league’s inaugural season in 2017; she was the AFL Football Woman of the Year in 2017; and Bec coached the Hawthorn AFLW team in their first two seasons in the league.

She also served on the AFLW Competition Committee.

man holding an award and a woman

2017 Rebecca Goddard Community Umpiring Award recipient Dale Puren and Bec Goddard. Photo: Doug Dobing.

No wonder when announcing her departure from Hawthorn last week, she said she didn’t think she had anything more to give.

And she gave very little away as to her plans or whether that future involved AFL.

But anyone who knows Bec knows her passions go well beyond AFL. She’s had an impressive career in a number of roles.

Sport, though, has been omnipresent.

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In 2018-19, she was recruited by UC Capitals coach Paul Gorris to drive cultural change within the WNBL team.

In the season before that, the team had missed the finals.

In 2018-19, the UC Capitals won the premiership with the likes of Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo as leaders.

Spurred on by the crowd, the UC Caps won against the Adelaide Lightning in 2018/19 grand final. Photo: Jennifer Andrew

The UC Caps in 2019 playing against the Adelaide Lightning at the AIS Arena in the grand final. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

Paul Gorris said at the time that Bec’s influence on the team was crucial to their success.

In many ways, it was the perfect role for her as it reflected the values that underpin and motivate Bec in so many ways.

She’s long championed the rights of women and young girls to play sport and is a passionate advocate for diversity and equality in sport.

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These values align with those of the UC Capitals, who have been prominent in their advocacy across a range of diversity issues in our community.

At 45, I assume Bec is not done yet with sport. Despite the inroads made by women in sport, particularly in the past five years, there is still plenty to be done to ensure equality.

So don’t be surprised if Bec appears somewhere in the community. She can’t help but be involved in improving sport through her drive and commitment to change. And our sports community is all the better because of her leadership.

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