The Western Bulldogs have appointed Melissa Hickey as an assistant coach for its AFLW program ahead of the 2022 season.
Hickey was an outstanding player in the women’s game, who has also developed vast experience in coaching over the last few years.
The 36-year-old retired from playing at the end of the 2020 season having recorded 25 games over four seasons – two with Melbourne, and two with the Geelong Cats.
She became Head Coach of Victoria Country’s Under 19s Girls Program in 2021 and went on to be named as the Coach of the All-Australian team.
Hickey was also an assistant coach for Geelong Falcons’ Under 19 boys and girls teams this year.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me to further my coaching aspirations and stay involved at AFLW level, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity with a Club like the Western Bulldogs,” Hickey said.
“To work alongside Nathan Burke, the rest of the coaches and a seriously talented group of players is something I’m so excited about.
“I have always had a strong passion for women’s football, and a desire to get the best out of others. The coaching pathway is something I’ve been eager to pursue for a while.
“I’m grateful for everything the game has given me so far, and I feel like I’ve got plenty to give the next generation of women’s footballers.”
After an illustrious state league career, Hickey was recruited to Melbourne for the inaugural AFLW season as a marquee signing. She was named vice-captain and made the 2017 All-Australian team.
She departed the Club in 2018 to join Geelong for its first ever season in the AFLW, captaining the team for two seasons before announcing her retirement.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Mel to the Bulldogs. She will be a brilliant addition to our coaching panel,” said Bulldogs’ General Manager of Women’s Football, Debbie Lee.
“Everyone admires what Mel has been able to achieve as a player over a long period of time, and she has enormous respect in the women’s game.
“She also has a bright future in coaching, with her knowledge of the game and experience as a player at the highest level making her a natural fit for a role like this.
“We’ve invested heavily in creating opportunities for more females to be involved in AFLW coaching programs, and we’ll continue our commitment to this space.”