Fremantle have added two coaches with AFLW experience to their ranks with the signing of Amy Lavell and Lisa Webb as assistant coaches for the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s season.
The pair join senior coach Trent Cooper, while Craig Thomas has been promoted to senior assistant in the club’s AFLW coaching group.
Both Lavell and Webb played important roles for Fremantle in 2018, with Lavell retiring at season’s end and Webb opting to take a year away from playing football.
They returned to the club mid-year to assist with Fremantle’s AFLW Talent Academy, with their coaching offers coming soon after the 10-week training block was finalised.
Lavell’s switch to coaching comes as an extension of her role in the leadership group during her two seasons at Fremantle, as well as acting as co-vice captain in 2018.
Immediately after her retirement from AFLW, Lavell moved to coaching and worked as an assistant WAWFL coach at Subiaco.
“I’ve had a keen interest in coaching for a while, so when I met Trent, I said I was interested in being a part of anything I could with the Freo team,” Lavell said.
“I didn’t want to miss out on being a part of this group of girls again, to be a part of this culture and what this club has to offer."
A former elite runner, Webb made the switch to football under the guidance of her husband Marc - a WAFL premiership coach at Claremont and the current senior development coach at Fremantle.
Lisa quickly made a name for herself in the AFLW, playing a starring role on debut in Fremantle's round two win at Optus Stadium against Collingwood, and winning the Best Clubwoman award at Fremantle’s 2018 Fairest and Best.
“I’m extremely excited to work with the girls I’ve already played with, as well as the players we pick up in the draft in the coming weeks,” Webb said.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to play last year and another one has come up for me this year.”
Webb said she has a passion for coaching and has taken on a lot from her husband.
“I’m constantly learning, I’m always looking at matches, trying to work through some coding,” Webb said.
“I’ll be getting his advice on where I can improve, especially on some of the things that transfer from the men’s to the women’s game.”
Thomas said he was excited to see two new coaches coming in with AFLW experience.
“They’ve got the experience of what the players have been through and they’ve been able to bring all of that to the rest of the team,” Thomas said.
“They’re very mature and know the game really well, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they add to the coaching group and see how we can all improve.”
Cooper said he was delighted with the new appointments, as well seeing Thomas promoted.
“Amy and Lisa will add a lot to the program and we are extremely happy that Craig has accepted the role of senior assistant coach,” Cooper said.
“Our new additions will be able to draw on their teaching background. They have the utmost respect from the playing group, so we are rapt to be adding such quality people to our program.
“Having coached against Craig, I know how well he prepares his players.
"With so many changes taking place in our program, it’s important to have that stability through Craig and I was happy to see the positive feedback from the playing group about Craig’s performance from our first two years in the AFLW competition.”