Sydney’s inaugural AFLW coach pushes for more full-time coaches in the league

Scott Gowans points up to a whiteboard

The AFLW’s newest senior coach, Scott Gowans, has called for part-time coaches to push into full-time coaching.

Key points:

  • Scott Gowans will lead the Sydney Swans into their maiden AFLW season in 2023
  • He says if players become full-time, it’s essential coaches follow suit
  • Gowans says the average assistant coach in AFLW is earning $6,000 for the whole season

Gowans was last week announced as the Sydney Swans inaugural women’s senior coach after a two-year spell from senior coaching. Gowans was last at the helm of North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos before losing his job after cutbacks from COVID-19.

After winning 11 from 14 games in his two-year tenure at Arden Street, Gowans was offered an assistant coaching role at Collingwood under Stephen Symonds, something he told the The W with Sharni and Sam he was very lucky to be a part of.

“They offered me more money than what the average assistant coach gets, so I was very lucky at Collingwood,” Gowans said.

“The average assistant in an AFLW program is around the $6,000 mark.

“Even if you were getting four times that — which I wasn’t, but if you were — it’s so tough and for the hours you do.

“If you imagine you’re going into training four times a week in pre-season, and you’ve got to work a normal job to pay your rent or a mortgage.

“You’ve got elite athletes in a program, and an assistant coach probably has a closer relationship [with players] than a head coach, because the head coach is overseeing the program and got so much on.

“So we’re probably in AFLW land sitting in a space where the assistant coach is, unless they’re connected with the club in some other way and doing dual roles at the club as a full time coach, it’s a really tough gig.”

‘Nobody is going to do it for $10 to $20 an hour’

While at Collingwood, Gowans worked across multiple roles where he’d spend approximately 25–30 hours a week “on the tools” across different areas.

It led to more reflection on the differences between being an assistant coach at Collingwood and previously at Carlton, and how different it was as the Kangaroos head coach.

Scott Gowans points up to a whiteboard
Gowans was head coach of North Melbourne until 2020.(Getty Images: Dylan Burns)

“At North Melbourne I had great assistants and they would provide me with great information,” he said.

“Probably on reflection I undervalued how critical that is to the head coaching role.

Author: Ivan Robinson