In a Wednesday morning interview, former Australian Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander expressed her interest in a change of codes.
Speaking on SEN‘s morning show Whateley, Alexander stated that she will be throwing her hat in the ring for the next vacant head coaching role at AFL level.
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Alexander coached the national netball team for ten seasons between 2011 and 2020, possessing an impressive 81% winning record across more than 100 tests matches.
Having previously aided Brendan McCartney during his tenure as head coach of the Western Bulldogs, Alexander stated her objective plainly – to become the first woman to perform the role.
“I’ve already stated this, but I’m not putting the cat among the pigeons, if a position comes up I am going to apply for it (to be an AFL head coach),” Alexander told SEN’s Whateley.
“I’m certainly going to do more than perhaps what Joyce Brown did back with Fitzroy when that position came up and all hell broke loose when it was discovered that Joyce had asked for the coaching (role) to see what was happening in other sports to be the very best.”
Alexander is of the belief that her skillset, honed over two decades in coaching roles, is able to be transferred between codes.
“I think there are many more similarities than what people think (between AFL coaching and netball coaching), particularly between the leadership of a high-performance program, which is what it needs to be,” she said.
“And in fact, I guess my experience in high-performance puts me in great stead for coming into a program and assessing its strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be done and the priorities that need to be worked on.
“Of course, I’ll apply my Leading Teams background which is to work on the mechanics and the dynamics of the team because you can’t ignore one. Culture and leadership will drive performance and that’s part of what the leader of the football program needs to do alongside the high-performance manager, so you work together as a team.
“And the other things is in coaching technical terms, I understand the game very well and I may look at it from a very different point of view that may actually evolve and change the game more than perhaps it has been in the last 10 years or so since Alastair Clarkson’s cluster has come into play.
“The way the game is played, there are many similarities between netball and Australian rules football. They’re 360 degree games and so the way you move the ball, there are some things we do in netball that I think Australian football can apply, particularly if the skill level is raised again.
“I spent a bit of time at the Bulldogs when (Brendan McCartney) was coaching observing the athletes there and the coaches particularly. I spent an afternoon talking about defence that we did in netball with the coaches at the time.
“The seriousness is that I’ve now got the time and I’ve got the inclination to have a go now, but it will take a leadership and a board that’s prepared to take a big leap of faith.”
Alexander was positive that a club would be willing to take a punt on her, whether that be as head coach or otherwise.
“I think there will be (a club brave enough to take the leap of faith). You’ve got 18 teams in the competition and so therefore there’s a really good chance it could happen,” she said.
“It may not be in a head coach position straight away, it might be in a director of coaching role or something else where I guess the board gets to test out this experiment, which it will be.
“I think they’ll be okay. From my point of view, I feel quite confident about doing it, but it’ll be the organisation and the culture of football itself that will have to change to cope with that.”