Breaking down the gender barrier

Chelsea Randall, Savanna Schimmel, Scott Philpott, Nicole Graves and Gareth Elliott. Picture: Matthew Poon www.communitypix.com.au d396025
Chelsea Randall, Savanna Schimmel, Scott Philpott, Nicole Graves and Gareth Elliott. Picture: Matthew Poon www.communitypix.com.au d396025

Coach Nicole Graves and assistant coaches Scott Philpott and Gareth Elliott form the coaching staff this season.

Graves said pre-season training had been going well and the plan for 2013 was to go as far into the competition as possible with the hope of winning a premiership.

‘We want to win the grand final, but realistically we just need to enjoy our footy, keep learning each week and the rest will look after itself,’ Graves said.

‘We have a very good group of senior players with lots of state football experience and our young guns are all in 16s and 18s state squads this year so I’m really looking forward to see what they can achieve at club level with this extra experience at the elite level.’

With the addition of two male coaches in the side assistant coach Scott Philpott said the biggest challenge the men faced was the same as all new coaches.

He said it involved understanding the team culture, the players and their personalities, though he hoped their introduction to the side would also help to bring down gender barriers.

‘Building trust so that we as coaches, can effectively communicate the values of a professional, team-orientated approach to the players, and achieve the buy-in required so we can be successful as a group,’ Philpott said.

‘My personal view is that the benefits delivered by introducing male coaches to women’s senior football at Swans, will be the result of breaking down the perception of gender differences in football, inside and outside the team.

‘My first and lasting impression of the playing group is that there is no difference in the range of skills, ability and fitness to other senior men’s teams that I have coached in the past.’

Graves said players to watch this season included Chelsea Randall, Ashley Sharpe, Asha Price, Kelly Gibson and Lauren Austin.

Women interested in taking up the sport can contact Swans development officer Chelsea Randall on 0430 868 251 or crandall@swandistrictsfc.com ” all levels are welcome.