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Michelle Cowan is an Australian rules football coach who served as the inaugural head coach of the Fremantle Football Club in the AFL Women's competition (AFLW).

Michelle Cowan
Michelle Cowan.jpg
Cowan in January 2017
Personal information
Date of birth 1982 (age 36–37)
Place of birth Durban, South Africa
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2017–2018 Fremantle 14 (4–9–1)
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2018.

Early lifeEdit

Cowan lived in Durban, South Africa, before moving to Kambalda, Western Australia at the age of four.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

After completing high school, Cowan contacted all sixteen AFL clubs to seek a coaching position. After no interest from fifteen of the clubs, Geelong agreed to meet with her and appointed her as a Western Australian based talent scout at just seventeen years of age.[2] At 21 years of age, Cowan became the first female assistant coach in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) when she became the midfield coach with the West Perth Football Club.[3] She spent eight years with West Perth before moving to the South Fremantle Football Club, also as the midfield coach.[4]

In 2013, she was appointed the senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club's women's team during the women's exhibition series and in the same year she was named as the Football Woman of the Year.[5] She coached Melbourne for all three years of the exhibition series - winning 5 out of the 6 matches and in February 2016, she became the first female assistant coach in Melbourne's history and the second in AFL history when she became the player development and welfare coach.[6] Due to family reasons she left the club in July and became the inaugural coach of the Fremantle AFL Women's team.[7]

After entering the inaugural AFL Women's season as favourites to win the premiership, Fremantle failed to live up to the pre-season expectation with the AFL head of female football and junior development, Josh Vanderloo, stating the reason was most likely due to injuries to key players and losing elite Western Australian talent to other states as marquee signings.[8] Cowan finished the season with one win, five losses and a draw.[9]

Fremantle finished the 2018 season with three wins, finishing seventh. Cowan was in discussions to extend her contract for the 2019 season, but instead chose to resign as head coach.

Cowan was approached by West Coast Eagles after leaving Fremantle, who offered her a contract for the 2020 AFLW season. She is also currently the AFL’s High Performance Coach / Mentor for the Female Coach Academy. [10]

Coaching statisticsEdit

Statistics are correct to the end of the 2018 season
 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
2017 Fremantle 7 1 5 1 14.3% 7 8
2018 Fremantle 7 3 4 0 42.9% 7 8
Career totals 14 4 9 1 28.6%


  1. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (26 June 2014). "Coach Michelle Cowan loved football from an early age". Bigpond. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  2. ^ Carew-Reid, Anna (5 September 2016). "Michelle Cowan: Call me coach". Perth Now. Seven West Media. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Who are you? Michelle Cowan". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Coach profile: Michelle Cowan leads Fremantle Dockers into first women's national league". SBS. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Cowan named Football Woman of the Year". Bigpond. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  6. ^ Lane, Samantha (4 February 2016). "Michelle Cowan appointed to Melbourne's coaching staff". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  7. ^ Lane, Samantha (1 July 2016). "Coach coup: Melbourne's loss, Docker gain with pioneer Michelle Cowan crossing to Freo". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  8. ^ Harrington, Anna (24 February 2017). "The perfect storm behind AFLW preseason flag favourites Fremantle's fall from grace in 2017". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Fremantle–2017 AFLW". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  10. ^ King, Travis (19 April 2018). "AFLW: Freo coach steps aside after two years". Retrieved 20 April 2018.

External linksEdit