Trailblazer Michelle Cowan hopes to see women become full-time in future but has urged patience over AFLW expansion.
Speaking on Episode 7 of Sport Insights with Emageo, Cowan spoke about her journey in football and how much the women’s game has grown in recent times.
With plenty of discussion around the future of the AFLW competition, Cowan said it was most important to get it right.
“I definitely hope all 18 clubs do have a women’s side, and then potentially all have a reserves side as well,” Cowan said.
“I think patience is really important. We are only in season four and I think we need to take every year by year, while trying to have a five-year strategic plan to make sure that you are being really smart about our expansion and growth, but at the same time, we need to review thoroughly every season to make sure that we get this right.
“The AFL only gets one opportunity to get this right and there’s a lot that goes into the planning and the preparation with AFLW. “Ideally it would be fantastic if we can invest in these players and make them full-time down the track in the future when that’s a viable thing to do but I think we’ve seen with the amount of support and the amount of sponsorship coming into the women’s team, people certainly do want this to happen.”
Cowan, who is an assistant coach with the West Coast Eagles AFLW side, also revealed the competing pressures current players were experiencing.
“The reality is that we got off the plane at 9pm (Sunday) night (after the game against Collingwood in round one) and a lot of our players would have been at work at 7am (Monday) morning and they need that in order to, I guess, pay the bills. When they are studying, they need to be in class too.
“It’s a real challenge for them to be really organised and make sure that they can be fresh and recovered and be ready for round two.
“And then get to training and generally be there between maybe 5pm and 9 at night for training sessions three times a week.”