Brisbane Lions AFLW Senior Coach, CRAIG STARCEVICH and Sydney Swans AFLW Senior Coach SCOTT GOWANS have tied to be crowned joint AFL Coaches Association AFLW Senior Coach of the Year in 2023.
Starcevich, who has led the Brisbane Lions women’s team since 2016, has won this Award for the third time and will take the Brisbane Lions into their fifth Grand Final Appearance this weekend.
Gowans’ Swans were winless in their inaugural season and returned in 2023 making rapid improvements and exceeding expectations to make finals.
Third place went to Grand Final coach North Melbourne’s Darren Crocker and fourth place to Geelong’s Dan Lowther.
Deemed to be the best performed senior coach throughout the 2023 AFLW Season, up to and including the preliminary final, Starcevich and Gowans were voted winners, having regard for his current season's performance, available resources, player talent and team management.
Starcevich was honoured by the recognition and acknowledged the whole team in accepting the Award.
“I’m honoured to be named as AFLCA AFLW Senior Coach of the Year,” Starcevich said.
“This is a win for our coaching and fitness/medical as a whole, who have been terrific this season dealing with a number of significant challenges along the way.”
Gowans was shocked by the recognition.
“It’s something I’ll probably reflect on a little later, but I’m very proud to win this award. I’m well aware it’s the result of being able to work with great people who make my job a lot easier,” Gowans said.
“Time has been key to success, time to plan and prepare. In my case, I had a number of weeks off where I couldn’t work so I was able to sit and think and strategize and it allowed me to come back better, and ready to go. Time is a marvellous thing. Obviously too, the training habits of the players, having time to prepare and have a proper pre-season, that really helped us.”
“This award wouldn’t have been possible without my support network - my wife Jodie, the club, Kate (Mahony) and Tom (Harley), the coaching staff and of course the players.”
AFL Coaches Association CEO, Alistair Nicholson, congratulated Starcevich & Gowans on their seasons.
“What a season for both Craig and Scott and wonderful recognition for their coaching performances.”
“Craig has done it again, another Grand Final appearance and another AFLW Senior Coach of the Year Award, his third. We’ve all seen Craig bring his team together season after season to improve, his consistency at the highest level is to be admired,” Nicholson said.
“And Scott, what a remarkable coaching performance to guide his team into the finals after a winless first season in the competition and a health issue in the preseason. His determination to get well and improve himself has evidently flowed through the club.
“I applaud Craig, Scott and their coaching teams for their seasons and being recognised by their peers with this Award.”