MELBOURNE has appointed defender Colin Garland as its women’s player development coach and Jane Lange as an assistant coach, after she was part of Carlton’s coaching staff in the inaugural AFL Women’s season.
Women’s football operations manager Debbie Lee said the club was delighted to have Garland and Lange join the club’s coaching panel.
“We are very excited to have Colin take up the role of player development coach. His extensive football experience will benefit all of us, given that he has played more than 140 AFL games,” she told melbournefc.com.au.
“He will be able to provide a further insight to our players and share his knowledge about what is required to become an elite footballer.
“He has already been active in our recruiting department, which will continue, and he will now also focus on the development of our players.”
On Lange, Lee said: “We are delighted to have Jane join the coaching panel. Her sound football knowledge combined with her passion for women’s football and development, will only complement our existing structures.”
“We believe Jane has the character and drive to add value to our playing group.
“She has been involved in women’s football as a player and coach for a number of years, and she has coached many of our current players, which we see as a real benefit. We look forward to working with her.”
Garland has played 141 matches for Melbourne from 2007-16, but has been sidelined with a knee injury this year and is contracted for the 2018 season.
Previously part of Melbourne’s leadership group, Garland finished second in the club’s best and fairest award in 2013. He was also a NAB AFL Rising Star nominee in 2008.
Lange, who will coach the forwards, is regarded as one of the most talented coaches in women’s football. She is also the first female coach to join Melbourne’s coaching panel since the club entered the AFLW.
“I played footy for 10 years at Darebin Falcons and I got into coaching in 2011, helping out with the women’s academy and being an assistant for the Victorian women’s state side,” Lange told melbournefc.com.au.
“I then had roles with the VFL academy, the VWFL academy and the Western Bulldogs for four years in the exhibition series.
“I’m head coach of Darebin at the moment – I’m in my second year – and last year I was in a playing-coach role. I’ve hung the boots up and now I’m just coaching and then I was at Carlton in a forward role this year.”
Lange, who is a full-time secondary school teacher at Northcote High School, said it was amazing to be involved in the inaugural AFLW season and she couldn’t wait to continue her journey with Melbourne.
“It was a pretty unbelievable experience – whether it was the first game or the first review session – it was all new and exciting,” she said.
“I absolutely loved my time at Carlton, but Deb [Lee] and the crew at Melbourne offered me some really good opportunities for development, which I felt like I couldn’t turn down.
“It’s been quite challenging juggling my teaching role, along with being a Mum of a 19-month year-old, so there are a few things on my plate, but it’s all been a great experience and I can’t wait to continue it at Melbourne.”