The AFLW Bulldogs have appointed former player Kirby Bentley as development coach for season 2022. 

Bentley played 10 AFLW games across three seasons for both Carlton and Fremantle, while also representing Melbourne in the earlier 2013-2016 AFL Women’s exhibition games. 

A Noongar woman, she also has the Kirby Bentley Cup named in her honour – an Australian Rules football trophy played for by Indigenous girls aged between 13 and 15 years old. 

Bentley said she couldn’t wait to get started at the Kennel. 

“To be appointed development coach ahead of the upcoming season, and still be involved in AFLW is something I’m incredibly excited about,” Bentley said.

“I strive to provide a learning environment for all athletes, so I can’t wait for the pre-season to officially begin, and get to know the entire Bulldogs program better. 

“Everyone has been so welcoming already – season 2022 couldn’t come any quicker.”

Bulldogs’ General Manager of Women’s Football, Debbie Lee, said Bentley was a fantastic appointment. 

“We’re thrilled to have Kirby join us as development coach ahead of the 2022 season,” Lee said. 

“To have someone with Kirby’s playing experience and knowledge of the game will be so beneficial for our playing group and fellow staff.

“We’re committed to continue creating opportunities for more females to be involved in AFLW coaching programs, which we’ll continue to do moving forward.”

The Bulldogs also recently welcomed Mel Hickey to their coaching panel, joining Natalie Wood as an assistant coach.