• Melbourne assistant coach Michelle Cowan. (AFL)Source: AFL
The AFL has announced the appointment of a Women’s Football Advisory Group.
By
Alison Smirnoff, Presented by
Danielle Warby

2 May 2016 - 7:25 AM  UPDATED 2 May 2016 - 7:33 AM

The 10-member group is to be chaired by AFL Commissioner Major General Simone Wilkie. Meeting quarterly, the group will provide input in the AFL’s inaugural national women’s competition, which is due to begin in early 2017.

The panel is a diverse one with a range of football industry experience as well as business, media and leadership clout. The lone current women’s player on the panel is Western Bulldogs and Darebin Falcons star forward, Darcy Vescio. The significance of the task is not lost on Vescio.

“It's a privilege and an exciting opportunity. I hope to bring perspective from a player point of view and use my position to raise the thoughts of the playing collective. It'll be interesting to get first hand insight into what the advisory group is thinking and be able to contribute. I see myself as a voice for the players, perhaps the younger bracket of players in particular.” Vescio said.

Like the opportunities opening up to current players at club level, Vescio’s appointment is another example of the changing landscape of the AFL. With the national women’s competition rapidly approaching, we are seeing a genuine investment in the game’s next generation of female leaders.

For Vescio, this means practical experience in helping to shape a history-making competition with some of the AFL’s most influential women.

“Personally, I'm also looking forward to working with the likes of Simone and Michelle as they are well respected, powerful women. It'll be great to see how they, along with other members of the group operate. I think that'll be something special in itself.”

The Women’s Football Advisory Group will first meet on Thursday May 5.

Who are the women’s Football Advisory Group?

Major Gen Simone Wilkie

Chair and AFL Commissioner

Libby Gorr

Media commentator

Debbie Lee

Past player and stateswoman of female football

Susan Alberti

Western Bulldogs board member

Michelle Cowan

Melbourne Football Club assistant coach

Craig Starcevich

AFL Queensland female football talent manager 

Holly Ransom

Port Adelaide Football Club board member

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Jane Woodlands-Thompson

SANFL commission

Xavier Clarke

NT Thunder coach 

Darcy Vescio

VFL Womens player