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McConnell Takes the Reins

When the opportunity arose, it made sense to look internally to continue to build the relationship between our AFL and AFLW teams.
CEO David Matthews

GIANTS Director of Coaching Alan McConnell will take up the reins as Head Coach of the club’s AFL Women’s side for 2018. 

The appointment continues the collaboration between the GIANTS’ men’s and women’s programs with McConnell to be intrinsically involved in both football departments across their respective seasons.

McConnell replaces inaugural GIANTS AFLW Head Coach Tim Schmidt who has stepped away from the role to focus on an expanded role within AFL NSW/ACT’s talent programs in addition to his own kicking academy program.

GIANTS Chief Executive David Matthews said it was a coup to have McConnell lead the club’s women’s program, while remaining the AFL program’s Director of Coaching.

“We’re delighted to have a person and coach of the quality of Alan want to take on this role as head of our AFL Women’s team,” Mr Matthews said. 

“When the opportunity arose, it made sense to look internally to continue to build the relationship between our AFL and AFLW teams.

“Alan had already assisted our AFLW players and coaches across the inaugural AFLW season and to secure him in this role is a real win.

“Importantly, he will continue to be across the men’s program during the women’s season, and return to the men’s program during the AFLW off-season.

Mr Matthews thanked Tim Schmidt on his efforts in establishing the club’s AFLW program in its first season. 

“We’d like to thank Tim for his contribution to the club’s inaugural AFL Women’s season,” Mr Matthews said.

“Many of the values and processes he implemented will continue to roll into the 2018 season and beyond. 

“With the AFLW program running for five months of the year, we understand Tim’s need to devote more time to his work as Female Football High Performance coach at AFL NSW/ACT as well as pursuing his own business interests. 

“Pleasingly Tim’s role at AFL NSW/ACT will ensure he continues to work with the GIANTS’ AFLW program as the key person identifying and developing young female talent in New South Wales and the ACT.”

McConnell joins the women’s program with a wealth of football experience, having been involved in the game for over 30 years. 

He played 37 games for Footscray and was the last coach of Fitzroy before it merged with Brisbane at the end of 1996. He was previously an Assistant Coach at Geelong and the AIS-AFL Academy’s High Performance Coach. 

McConnell was the GIANTS’ first-ever appointment in 2009 and has held positions at the club as an Assistant Coach, Senior Assistant Coach and now the Director of Coaching. He will work full-time on the women’s program during the AFLW season and continue his work on the men’s program year-round.

The appointment continues the growth of the club across the recent AFLW trade and signing period when the club recruited Collingwood’s AFLW vice-captain and club Best and Fairest runner-up Alicia Eva along with fellow Victorians Pepa Randall, Maddie Boyd and Rebecca Privitelli.

The club also re-signed reigning club Champion Jessica Dal Pos, former marquee players Emma Swanson and Renee Forth as well as a host of the most talented local NSW and ACT players.

The AFLW pre-season kicks off in early November.