MELBOURNE has announced that Michelle Cowan and Daisy Pearce have joined the club as employees.

Chief executive Peter Jackson said Cowan and Pearce were “both outstandingly talented individuals who came to attention via our long term association and investment in women’s football”.

“Michelle Cowan has proven herself to be an outstanding coach and we have secured her in our football department in a development role to support our player welfare,” he said.

“We are of the view that it is important for our club to provide a diverse influence to our players and Michelle will provide and important perspective and leadership to our players, both male and female. 

Cowan has been appointed as a player development coach, after previously being an assistant coach at WAFL clubs South Fremantle and West Perth.

Outside of coaching, Cowan has also managed a team of 150 staff and built her own national training company, as a professional speaker/facilitator throughout Australia.

Cowan willwork closely with Shannon Byrnes (player development manager), Andrew Nichol (manager of welfare and operations) and Brendan McCartney (manager of development).

She will focus on the management of a group of player development plans and leadership development, plus perform match day roles at Casey and Melbourne.

General Manager of Football Operations Josh Mahoney said Cowan was a great appointment. 

“As I got to know Michelle through our women’s football program it became very clear to me that I wanted her in the football department working with our AFL players as well,” he said.

Pearce has been employed by the club in what can best be described as a graduate traineeship role.

Jackson said Pearce will be exposed to all aspects of the club’s operations, which will help her develop an understanding and give her the knowledge of the inner workings of an AFL club.

“Daisy has demonstrated that she has the intelligence and drive to develop a good career in the AFL industry, on the back of her undoubted football success. We are very happy to support her on the start of that journey,” he said.

Pearce, who is arguably the best player in women’s football today, was the first female player drafted, when she was the No.1 pick in 2013. In 2015, she won Melbourne’s best female player award. 

Cowan and Pearce are the coach and captain respectively of Melbourne’s women team. They have been in the role since Melbourne played in the inaugural AFL women’s match against the Western Bulldogs in 2013.

Jackson said the club was proud to have pioneered the AFL’s women’s football program and “delighted to be able to extend our commitment to women in sport with these two important appointments”.