The first-ever VAFA women’s representative coach has been announced, with John Kanis taking the reins against AFL Goldfields in July.
Kanis, who is currently Melbourne University Varsity AFL coach and Inner FM commentator, is a VAFA stalwart and received a Certificate of Merit in 2016 for his contribution spanning more than 35 years.
He has represented Caulfield Grammarians, Melbourne University Blues and the VAFA as a player, captain, coach, manager and commentator.
He captained Caulfield in 1982, won their Best and Fairest twice and is a member of the Caulfield Grammarians Team of the Century. He then made the move to University Blues, played 182 games and captained the Club for four years.
After 344 VAFA games, John retired from playing and took up the role of Senior Coach at University Blues in 2004, where he led his chargers to a premiership in his first year at the helm.
More recently, Kanis coached the Big V with Quinten Gleeson in Ireland in 2013 and assisted Cam Roberts in 2015.
He said the driving force behind accepting the role as the women’s Big V coach is to help foster their talent and give the players a “proper Amateur experience”.
“It’s an opportunity for them to play alongside other elite women’s players and experience what the VAFA is about,” he said.
“The wave of excitement around women’s footy at the moment is fantastic and to be able to be a small part in that wave is a great honour.”
Kanis has wasted no time in pulling together an elite coaching panel, with 2016 Old Xaverians premiership co-coach, Ted Woodruff, and University Blacks senior coach, Cam Roberts, joining him in the coach’s box.
Roberts coached the Big V senior team to Metro Champions in 2015 and has spent the past AFLW season as an assistant to Paul Groves at the Western Bulldogs.
“I tried to pull a chain together of people who have achieved success in Amateur footy and have been around the competition for a number of years,” Kanis said.
“Hopefully, we can guide the players and establish a program as revered as the men’s Big V program.
“It’s an opportunity to set a culture that is the Big V for women.”
Further information on the first-ever women’s Big V match will be released in coming days.