Geelong captain Joel Selwood has backed Daisy Pearce to one day coach a men’s AFL team as the AFLW star considers multiple off-field offers. The Cats are in the box seat to secure Pearce’s services as an assistant coach for their men’s program in what would be a major coup.
Pearce, the face of the AFLW since it launched in 2017, is expected to retire as a player after Melbourne’s season ends. The 33-year-old mother of twins has become a TV star with the Seven Network, and has been promoted to be a permanent member of the prime-time Friday night coverage this year.
But Pearce has repeatedly made it clear she would like to be involved in coaching, and Geelong appears to be her favoured destination. Selwood believes Pearce can follow a similar path to American basketball coach Becky Hammon, who previously served as a senior assistant in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs.
“I think there will be a female senior coach at some level,” Selwood said on Wednesday. “There’s no border on where these girls can go. Daisy is an exceptional person from what I’ve had to do with her.
“She’s going to hopefully come into our program and make a big difference, but if I know anything about Daisy right now, she’s only concentrating on what the Melbourne footy club is doing.
“I think she’s a great football person and extremely good at broadcasting and if we were to get her, I think it’s a huge bonus.”
Geelong chief executive Steve Hocking is adamant Pearce is yet to make a decision about her future, but the Cats remain heavily interested.
“Daisy may play on for another couple of years, but we just wish her well,” Hocking told SEN. “Melbourne are going to go deep in the [AFLW] finals… and I’m sure Daisy and the club is committed to go on a similar journey [to the Demons men’s team in 2021].”
There are no female head coaches in the AFLW this season, after St Kilda’s Peta Searle was replaced by club great Nick Dal Santo. However, Adelaide premiership coach Bec Goddard will be returning to the senior ranks next year when she leads Hawthorn’s inaugural AFLW team.
GWS’s Alicia Eva is another future coaching star, with the Giants’ AFLW captain already involved in the club’s academy and VFL men’s program. Last June, Eva became the first women to join the AFL Academy coaching panel and led the boys’ team with Tarkyn Lockyer.
Geelong’s interest in Pearce comes after an eventful off-season when respected assistants Matthew Scarlett, Matthew Knights and Corey Enright all left Kardinia Park after the Cats’ humbling preliminary final loss against Melbourne.
Former Geelong stars James Kelly, Matthew Egan and Harry Taylor have all returned to the club, while legendary Carlton and Adelaide forward Eddie Betts has also joined the Cats after his retirement last year.
“We obviously needed change on the back of last year, we got to a position where we were in the top-four again and needed to do things differently,” Selwood said. They’ve all brought something different and it’s been a really enjoyable pre-season.”