The Western Bulldogs have appointed Kirby Bentley as its new VFLW head coach.
Bentley, who took on a development coach role with the Bulldogs’ AFLW program this preseason, will add senior coaching duties to her repertoire following Sean Kavanagh’s resignation in October.
A proud Noongar woman, she 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.
Bentley said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to work across both programs.
“I’m obviously excited – I think it’s going to be a great new look for the Club and what we are trying to do in making our AFLW and VFLW programs more aligned,” Bentley said.
“Having that consistency is great not only for our AFLW players coming through VFLW, but also for our VFLW players who are wanting to take that next step and learn as much as they can about football in an elite environment.
“I’m big on developing girls and making sure they understand the football lingo, and are confident and comfortable enough to be able to ask questions.
“If we can create that environment here, it’s going to attract a lot of players to want to come to this Club - ideally we want them to develop and enjoy it, but feel the challenge too that they are growing.”
Current AFLW player Ashleigh Guest has been appointed as senior assistant coach, while Anna McIlroy, Rohenna Young and Tom Woodlock will continue in their respective roles.
General Manager of Women’s Football, Debbie Lee, said it was pleasing to confirm the panel, while giving more women the opportunity to coach.
“We’re thrilled to have KB as our VFLW head coach - since joining our AFLW program this preseason, KB has settled in seamlessly and has already had such an impact on our players,” Lee said.
“Having our three assistants continue in their roles, while adding someone with Guesty’s playing experience to our coaching panel, gives us a really well-rounded group which we’re extremely confident in.
“We’re committed to providing opportunities for more females to be involved in coaching positions, and with six out of 11 of our AFLW/VFLW coaches being women, we’d like to think we are well and truly leading the way for that.”
The 2022 rebel VFLW season is scheduled to commence on February 12, 2022.
2022 VFLW Bulldogs coaching panel
Head coach: Kirby Bentley
Senior assistant coach: Ashleigh Guest
Assistant coaches: Anna McIlroy, Rohenna Young, Tom Woodlock.