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Gill, Leeann (c. 1961 - )

c. 1961
Australian Rules Football Coach


Leeann Gill is the only woman in Victoria, quite possibly Australia, qualified to coach Australian Rules Football at Victorian Football League Level. A Level Two accredited coach, she coaches the under-16 boys at the Rowville Junior Football Club, where she has been a coach for eleven years. Working her way up through the ranks, she is now the club's most qualified coach. In 2005 she won the 2005 Australian Football Coaches Association Female Coach of the Year award.


Leeann Gill's experience as a coach of a sport played mainly by boys and men has not always been easy. Some parents have withdrawn their children from the team, rather than have them be coached by a woman. When she took over the under-9s, another coach declared that she would not be able to do the job properly because she hadn't played the game. When her team made the finals and his didn't, she proved him wrong. 'I've had coaches turn their backs on me and walk away when I went to shake their hand after the game,' she recalls, '…usually when the team I coached had won.'

Gill believes she has the skill and knowledge base to coach at the senior level, but notes that the greatest barrier to her doing so is a psychological one. What would prevent her is the level of acceptance by the players. 'I don't think they're quite there'. She does think, however, that women could take on roles at an Australian Football League Level, as assistants or in the recruitment area.

Sources used to compile this entry: Critchley, Cheryl, 'She's the coach, man', Herald Sun (Melbourne), April 18, 2005, p. 15.

Nikki Henningham

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