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Melbourne Football Club

Cowan named Football Woman of the Year

MELBOURNE’S first women’s football team coach – Michelle Cowan – has been named the 2013 Football Woman of the Year at the annual Grand Final Comedy Debate at Crown Palladium.

Cowan, who was the first female in Australia to coach football at a state level in the men’s competition, also guided Melbourne to victory over the Western Bulldogs on June 29 this year, in the first AFL sanctioned women’s match. 

The match was the curtain-raiser to the round 14 Melbourne and Western Bulldogs clash at the MCG.

She originally commenced her role as an assistant coach in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL) in 2004, alongside former Carlton and West Coat Eagles assistant coach Darren Harris at West Perth.

In 2013, Michelle was the coach of the Western Australian state under 18s youth girls team, leading the side to the Grand Final.

Cowan has also been appointed mentor coach for the AFL High Performance Academy for the youth girls based in Melbourne, which will tour New Zealand in October.

She currently serves as an assistant coach at South Fremantle.

The Football Woman of the Year Award recognises women in the industry who have made a significant contribution to the game of Australian Football.

Presented by the Essendon Women’s Network (EWN), this prestigious award is judged by an independent panel and is open to any woman involved in football regardless of club or profession.

An outstanding role model to women, Cowan was awarded the Football Woman of the Year in front of more than 1,000 guests at Crown Palladium.

Four other women were nominated as finalists for the award including Annette Ellis, Chyloe Kurdas, Scharlaine Cairns and Dr Sonja Hood.

Past winners of the award include: Irene Chatfield (1998), Jill Lindsay (1999), Caroline Wilson (2000), Katrina Pressley (2001), Beverly Knight and Bev O’Connor (2002 joint winners), Jenny Williams (2003), Edna Daniher (2004), Jennie Loughnan (2005), Barb Cullen (2006), Terry Bracks (2007), Susan Alberti (2008), Debbie Lee (2009), Anna Durante (2010), Lesley McGrath (2011), and Belinda Duarte (2012).