Williamstown’s first foray into women’s football now has a new leader, with Amy Catterall announced as the inaugural coach of the new VFLW side.
Williamstown will enter a side in the expanded women’s state league in 2018, marking the club’s first female side in the 153 year history of the club.
The prospect of crafting a side and a culture from the very beginning was one of Catterall’s primary attractions to the position.
“I love the fact that I get to go into a brand new team and help create really good foundations for club culture,” Catterall said. “Setting the foundations for a big support network to carry on into the future was also very exciting.
“This is right near the top of my achievements, because it allows me to help other people develop and become better footballers and hopefully better people through the support the club can provide.”
Catterall has an impressive CV in the game, including premierships as a player at St Albans and Deer Park, state representative from 2007-12, and playing for Melbourne in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2013.
In recent seasons she has focused on coaching, with positions as a youth girls coach at St Albans (2009-12), development coach at Deer Park (2016), and an assistant coach at St Kilda Sharks in the VFLW (2017).
Tryouts for the Seagulls 2018 side will begin in the coming weeks, with more than 150 players already putting their hands up to try out for a spot on the Williamstown list.
“It’s great to have so many interested in playing for us,” Catterall said.
“It makes my job tough, but it’s also really exciting to see that there are so many players wanting to be involved with the club.
“I’ve also spoken to VFL players who I think will bring great leadership skills and diversity to the club and the team.”
Catterall said her side would provide an opportunity to develop and create opportunities to be drafted to the AFLW next year and beyond.
“I already have a group of girls in mind for the side that I believe should be playing AFLW already, so we want to get players ready for that next step,” she said.
“I’m hoping that we can be a pathway for girls to get to the top. Having a standalone club without affiliations to AFL club’s can be a benefit for our players.
“For example if you are at Collingwood’s VFLW side, Collingwood are going to be very protective of those players, but with us you can talk to any AFLW club and open up your options for drafting.”
As with any new side, the expectations in the first year are going to be manageable, but Catterall said there is no reason they can’t shake up the league in 2018.
“We want to be realistic, but obviously we’d love to make it to the finals and I think that’s a good aim at the start.”