Two Melbourne Grammar School colleagues are friendly rivals outside the School gates.
Ms Jessica Rottura, Head of Media Studies in the Senior School, and Mr Scott Whyte, Director of Sport at Wadhurst, have each been appointed to AFLW assistant coaching positions at Carlton and the Western Bulldogs Football Clubs respectively.
Typically, there are a few different aspects to the role of assistant coach,” explains Mr Whyte. “I’ll be responsible for the mid-field group, plus I’ll be involved in list management and the development academy. I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Ms Rottura is also looking forward to the challenge. “It’s important for football players to feel like they have someone who understands them and knows how to help them get the best out of themselves,” says Ms Rottura. “Assistant coaches play a key role in developing training programmes that build the skills of each individual player.”
Both Ms Rottura and Mr Whyte have an impressive background in football coaching, and both are steadfast in their belief that diversity in the coaching line-up is essential to the game.
“While the number of female players has grown exponentially, there are still only a few women coaching in the AFL, says Ms Rottura. “To maintain the integrity of any programme, the most qualified and best person should be appointed to any coaching role. Football departments should reflect real life and it is important that boys and girls see both genders in leadership positions on and off the field, so they can see their own potential.”
Mr Whyte concurs. “Coaches will play a vital role in continuing to improve standard of women’s football and this will impact on the perception of the sport by both players and supporters,” he explains. “Diversity across all roles is an important aspect of the development of the AFLW.”