The AFL announced the commencement of their 2022 BHP Women’s Coaching Academy this week and a couple of familiar Lions feature in the group of eight women who have been recognised as outstanding coaching talent selected to take part in the 12-month program.  

Lions Premiership players Lauren Arnell and Emma Zielke were both awarded places in the program which is in its fourth year and sees them complete a National AFL Level 3 Coaching Accreditation Course.  

Arnell who is a Development Coach and Female Head Coach of the Brisbane Lions Academy and Zielke now Assistant Coach of her former Lions AFLW side are leading the way for female coaches within the game, and this is another fantastic accolade.  

01:46 Mins
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Mic'd Up: Zilks first session

While Craig Starcevich is away, Emma Zielke takes the reigns in her first session as Assistant Coach.

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The pair will receive mentoring support from inaugural St Kilda AFLW Coach Peta Searle across the 12-month program which aims to support and develop the existing women’s coaching group, while identifying and accelerating the development of the next generation of talent.  

Zielke was thrilled to be included in what has become a highly respected program for developing female coaching talent in the industry.  

“I’m really enjoying the new step into coaching post my playing career and being offered a place in the BHP Women’s Coaching Academy will be another fantastic learning opportunity for me.  

“I’m excited to continue to hone my skills and knowledge in this space with a view to being able to share it with young football talent as they’re coming through. 

“It’s fantastic that the AFL continues to provide opportunities for women to move into more senior coaching roles as the League continues to grow and hopefully this program is that steppingstone for myself and my career in football. 

“At the end of the day, for me it’s about becoming the best coach I can be for my players.” 

Arnell echoed Zielke's sentiments. 

"I'm grateful to be involved and have the opportunity to learn from a range of experienced coaches and coach developers.

"There are some outstanding people involved and it's amazing to see the industry progressing for further diversity in coaching."

The 2022 BHP Women’s Coaching Academy participants include:

  • Lauren Arnell – Development Coach/Female Head Coach, Brisbane Lions Academy

  • Elise Coventry – AFLW Development Coach, Geelong Cats

  • Courtney Cramey – AFLW Assistant Coach, Adelaide Crows

  • Jacara Egan – Assistant Coach U19 Men’s/Women’s, Calder Cannons

  • Pia Faletti – Rogers Cup Head Coach/League Assistant Coach, Subiaco FC Women’s

  • Daisy Pearce – AFLW Captain, Melbourne Football Club

  • Katherine Smith – Head Coach – Premier Women’s Team, Macquarie University FC

  • Emma Zielke – AFLW Assistant Coach, Brisbane Lions