The AFLW Bulldogs have confirmed their coaching panel for season 2022, welcoming three additions in Josh Bruce, Dylan Roberton and James Kennedy.
Roberton (forwards coach) will join the recently appointed Mel Hickey (defence) and returning Natalie Wood (midfield) as an assistant coach, while Kennedy will take the reins as ruck coach.
Bruce will act as a development coach alongside Kirby Bentley.
Kennedy joins the Club from the NAB League’s Eastern Ranges, where he spent time with both the men’s and women’s programs as ruck coach.
His football and basketball background saw him mentor three eventual AFLW draftees in Keeley Sherar (Carlton), El Chaston (Collingwood) and Georgia Campbell (Melbourne).
Roberton arrives at the Kennel after a 129-game playing career with both Fremantle and St Kilda.
He announced his retirement from the game earlier this year, following a two-month hiatus where he weighed up his post-football options.
Bruce is no stranger to VU Whitten Oval, having crossed over from St Kilda during the 2019 AFL Trade Period.
The 27-year-old has played 37 games in the red, white and blue since, slotting 48 goals from 20 games to finish this season as the Club’s leading goalkicker.
An ACL injury in round 21 against Essendon – which also happened to be his 150thcareer match - saw him sidelined for the finals series, and while completing his rehab he will now dedicate part of his time to coaching.
Bulldogs’ General Manager of Women’s Football, Debbie Lee, said the three appointments will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience.
“To have people of this calibre join our AFLW program for season 2022 is great, not only for our players but for our entire program,” Lee said.
“We’re thrilled to have Dylan join Mel and Nat as assistant coaches, James come on board as our ruck coach, and Josh join Kirby as a development coach.
“It’s been extremely pleasing to welcome our new additions to the Kennel, having officially started pre-season last week.
“Led by ‘Burkey’, we’re extremely confident in our coaching panel and believe the program will benefit greatly moving forward.”
The AFLW Bulldogs are currently training three times a week as they prepare for the 2022 NAB AFLW season to commence in January.