Essendon has announced Natalie Wood will be their head coach in their first AFLW season, joining Bec Goddard as the only female coaches in the top job across the league.
Wood joins the club from the Western Bulldogs where she spent the past two years as their assistant midfield AFLW coach, having spent the four years prior as Geelong’s AFLW midfield coach and VFLW head coach.
Wood also played 197 games across 17 seasons at the Darebin Falcons and Melbourne University, winning five premierships and three-time All-Australian honours.
“I am extremely proud to join the Essendon family and very grateful to have the opportunity to lead Essendon’s inaugural AFLW side,” Wood said.
“The club has developed a very strong women’s program and culture since their introduction to the VFLW and I look forward to continuing the development of women’s football at Essendon.
“To be joining the red and black family, and a club like Essendon with its rich history, is a true privilege.”
Wood said the Western Bulldogs had supported her decision to move clubs.
“If I had this perfectly, I would lead this group – but there is already a great leader here in place,” Wood said.
“The club has allowed me to grow and flourish. The eagerness of the playing group and their readiness for new information is outstanding.
“It has been an absolute delight to work with the players and staff here – I know they are onto something special and I can’t wait to watch from afar.”
Source: AFL NEWS ABC