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Former dual premiership coach Nicole Graves is set to return to the Swans Female Football teams and programs after a year developing in the Swan Districts Football Club (SDFC) WAFL system.

Graves will oversee the clubs female football development programs as Director of Coaching and Female Pathways Development Coach in 2017. Graves although disappointed not getting an opportunity in the AFLW competition in 2017, was buoyed by the number of players she has coached over the past two decades making the grade in just about all AFLW teams around Australia, including 14 from SDFC.

Saying ‘Maybe the footy gods are telling me my role is to develop players and clubs to ensure the AFLW competition becomes the first-choice sport for young female athletes. Club environments are so important and now having supported the setup of Swan Districts Women’s program and the Mighty Darebin Falcons regeneration back in 2003/4 I’ve got to be happy with that output as a footy person with more than 30 players from the two clubs now drafted’

Graves who has overseen the building of the Women’s team over the past decade will support the continuing commitment to female football at the club ensuring its continues to be the at the forefront of female pathways. ‘It’s important we continue to develop the young players at the club and support the Swans District in providing pathways at the top level for all women and girls wishing to participate in our great game’ Graves said

In recent times SFDC created history being one of only three clubs in Australia to see more than 12 players drafted to the AFLW competition for 2017. A statistic the club is extremely proud of and supports the drive and ongoing commitment the club has shown in developing female programs since it started in 2007.

In 2016 the SDFC committed more resources to the female market by diverting SDFC female football to their extremely successful V Swans Department. This has allowed for additional time, resources and development to go into the female pathways at the club. Developing and delivering its Female S2S Academy and the inclusion of more than a dozen girls into their Pilbara based program which was until recently only support the development of young men in the region.

The new appointment will also support the ongoing plans and development of programs and teams already showing fantastic growth, with the retention of 2016 Premiership Women’s league Coach Rob Kennedy and SDFC Youth Girls Grand final and State School girls assistant coach Leith Woods in their respective coaching roles. This will see all three teams coaches by level 2 and 3 coaches all with State level experience.

Graves explains: ‘Our Club is committed to female pathways and providing the best coaching and playing environment to support girls committed to developing themselves as players and people. Supporting the new AFLW league and the AFL’s push to ensure that State based competitions continue to grow and develop is the driver for me and SDFC to support all facets of our player’s development. We want to give our girls the best opportunity to emulate the playing opportunities of their brothers and fathers at the club and maybe now be driven to be the next Kara Donnellan, Kirby Bentley, Chelsea Randall or any of our elite drafted players now and into the future’.

V Swans, SDFC and the WAFC’s Swans District have developed a player and program pathway that will support the female pathways in the region by developing a program that will emulate the Swans WAFL structure with trials now set for entry into the SDFC Youth under 18 female program, while providing new community club opportunities in a central conference female pathway including an increase in all female Auskick centres and building on their 2016 junior/Youth girls program to includes club based competitions for girls aged 10 to 16 in junior girls competitions. Providing a full pathway for participation in community club and State based competitions.

Want to be involved:

Coaching:

Swans are requesting expressions of interest for assistant coaches committed to the female pathway to contact the club if they wish be involved.

Cover letter and Coaching CV to be emails to kdonnellan@vswans.com.au by 20th of December 2016.

Participation:

Players committed to their own player pathways and wishing to join the SDFC in 2017 please keep an eye out on our Facebook site ‘Swan Districts Womens Football @swandistrictswomenfootball or email directly to info@vswans.com.au for more information on pre-season start dates for all teams and the local clubs involved in the District Junior and Yout