On a historic day for the AFLW, all 18 clubs involved in the AFL will field teams in the women’s competition, beginning with the 2022-23 season – and the AFLW will welcome its first woman to their coaching ranks.
The AFL announced that Hawthorn, the Sydney Swans, Essendon and Port Adelaide had been granted licences to join the AFLW.
But at this stage, Canberra’s Bec Goddard will be the only female coach in the AFLW, after the Hawthorn Club unveiled her as their coach for the Hawks’ first season in the women’s league.
Goddard coached the Hawthorn VFLW team last season, with part of her focus on promoting female coaches, trainers and players in preparation for admission to the AFLW.
Hawthorn’s announcement of Goddard’s appointment reflects her passion for the new role.
“I’m over the moon,” Goddard said.
“We’ve been waiting for ages, so I’m so excited for our fans, our family and our friends to finally be a part of the AFLW.
“I think the best bit about it is the evolution and the shift in the footy club and how important it is for the club to have a complete family.
“Seeing how passionate and how invested everyone is in being a part of this new journey is also a very inspiring thing.”
Goddard, a trailblazer in Canberra as an umpire and coach, finally gets another opportunity after battling to secure a senior coaching role in the AFLW, despite guiding the Adelaide Crows to the premiership in the league’s inaugural season in 2017.
Hawthorn, with an eye on inclusion in the AFLW, signed Goddard to coach in the VFLW.
Hawthorn’s CEO Justin Reeves says Goddard’s appointment as its inaugural AFLW coach is a natural progression.
“The club has been fortunate enough to work with Bec over the past two years, and she has been an amazing part of our Hawthorn family.
“Confirming Bec as our coach and our leader of this new era in our history fills us with an enormous amount of pride and confidence in the direction that our club is taking. The club’s vision for the future is clear: to create a club that is successful, sustainable, socially inclusive and equally focused on both men’s and women’s programs.”
Many will readily testify Goddard is more than ready to lead Hawthorn into a new era.