A pioneer coach of many of the state's successful female football programs has landed at South Warrnambool as its newest women's head coach.
John Marshall, who has family ties to the Roosters, comes to Friendly Societies' Park with 17 years experience coaching female footballers.
Beginning at North Ballarat in 2005 when it competed in the old Victorian Women's Football League, Marshall then went on to build up several Melbourne-based teams, including Fitzroy, St Bedes and Coburg.
"We started off (at Fitzroy) with 15 players from the first night, and it just grew," he said.
"We set up a really good culture and that attracted girls. We had enough for a reserves the following year."
Marshall said the opportunity to do the same at South Warrnambool was an exciting prospect.
"I've always been about building the game, and there is a real opportunity to do that here, where the game is taking off," he said.
Marshall has seen several of the AFL Women's household names come through his programs, including North Melbourne's Ash Riddell and Kaitlyn Ashmore, as well as Western Bulldogs' Richelle Cranston.
With more than 350 senior games under his own belt, Marshall said "he wasn't the most talented" but used his "lack of ability" to coach others.
"You can understand where a lot of the players are coming from," he said.
While the Roosters finished with a 6-1 record in 2021, Marshall said he would define success for his team this year "by having 30 or players coming out the end of the season wanting to play next season."
"Coming out of Covid-19, the hardest thing will be the numbers and regaining the girls' confidence in just coming out and having a go," he said.
Marshall encouraged any interested players to get in touch with the club.
South female football co-ordinator Jock O'Connor said the club was ecstatic to sign a coach of Marshall's calibre.
"It's great to have someone with the experience and passion John has for female football," he said.
"He has a great record in the game."
O'Connor said the club was excited to introduce its under 14 team in 2022 to shore up its pathways from junior to senior football.
"The pathways are expanding, and we certainly want to jump on board that as early as we can," he said.
The club is also on the lookout for any interested female coaches, with Marshall hoping to encourage and mentor the next generation of coaches.
The club will hold its first training session and meet and greet at Friendly Societies' Park on Monday, January 31, from 5.45pm.
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