Essendon has appointed the highly-regarded Natalie Wood as its inaugural AFLW coach, with the Warrnambool export set to make history at The Hangar.
After a long apprenticeship in the coaching caper, which has seen the champion Darebin and Melbourne Uni footballer serve as Western Bulldogs AFLW midfield coach, Geelong VFLW senior coach and AFLW midfield coach, the Bombers made the announcement on Friday of Wood's appointment.
It's even more significant with the club celebrating its 150th year.
"It's a terrific day, we've had a player and a staff meeting and it's probably the first time I've been nervous throughout the whole process and I guess that is just symbolic of how significant this moment is," she explained.
"To finally have a women's team in the AFLW is new ground for us, I'm really excited. I've had a few experiences and it'll help us put our best foot forward.
"I look forward to building our staff and list profile. We're excited about the August start date, it allows us to put some plans into action."
The 197 game veteran - in a career spanning almost two decades on field - said she was looking forward to building the list.
"I'm looking forward to canvasing the players in the league but there's so many talented players in state-leagues that have been building their craft over many years," she said.
Essendon president Paul Brasher said the former Victorian representative, five-time premiership winner and three-time All-Australian in the VWFL was the perfect fit.
"We've had a process over the last three or four months to find a coach," he said.
"(She's) got a fantastic background in sport at a high level in football and cricket, in education, deputy principal of schools, senior education advisor, in player development, coached a VFLW team and been assistant at two AFLW teams.
"She's ready to take us where we need to get to in our AFLW program."
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