Jan Cooper

Jan has been synonymous with Female Football Development across the nation for a number of years and has had a more significant impact on the future of female players, coaches and administrators in the game than most. She publicly advocates for women to the highest level of the AFL through to the local Auskick Centre. Jan has been instrumental in changing female football from a few small leagues across the nation to being on the verge of having an elite competition.



Peta Searle

Peta Searle has made an outstanding contribution to Australian Rules Football which this year has culminated in her being appointed Assistant Coach of the St Kilda Football Club.

With many firsts under her belt includingbeing the first female coach in the TAC Under 18s competition, the first head coach of the AFL Victoria VWFL Academy and the first female to coach in the VFL, Peta also played a role in coaching the Western Bulldogs female AFL team in 2013 when they played the curtain raiser on the MCG against the Melbourne Football Club

With a clear and uncompromising philosophy towards coaching and development Peta is a great role model for women in football and for women more broadly, that nothing is out of reach in our great country.




Bridget Barker

Bridget is responsible for running football programs for boys and girls from many different culturesWorking with the MUWFC and the Kensington Junior Football Club Bridget has ensured there are clear pathways for young women to participate in female football from Auskick through to senior level football. Bridget’s love of football and coaching has been described as nothing less than infectious.



Nadine Rabah

As a Lebanese Muslim, Nadine Rabah has long been a trail blazer in Australian Rules football. Keen to give something back to the game, Nadine was equally indebted to the Essendon District Football League (EDFL) and the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL), so rather than choose a single league to serve, she officiates in both.

Nadine has selflessly given much of her time to volunteer roles, including as an Assistant Coach in a four-week football program delivered to the River Nile Learning Centre for women of African heritage.

A keen writer, Nadine has worked as a freelance journalist for Eureka Street magazine. Here writing attracted the attention of a publisher who approached her during her year 12 studies by asking if she could write a novel. Nadine jumped at the opportunity and the resulting book Jayana: Best and Fairest, the story of a young Muslim girl who plays football, was published in 2014.

Nadine’s commitment, passion and knowledge of Australian Rules football are hard to surpass. She is making a difference in football and more importantly, using football as a vehicle to connect with community and change lives.


Past Winners - Football Woman of the Year 




Michelle Cowan

Michelle Cowan is the first female in Australia to coach football at a state level in the men’s competition. She is currently an Assistant Coach in the Western Australian Football League for South Fremantle Football Club and the Head Coach of the U/18’s youth girl’s team.
Michelle is also a mentor coach for the AFL High Performance Academy for youth girls based in Melbourne.
Michelle has been appointed Head Coach of Melbourne Football Club women’s team during the AFL women’s exhibition game held at the MCG.