Albert Park Falcons have created their own piece of history with the appointment of Robbie-Lee Stephen as the club’s first-ever female head coach.
Stephen, who has previously been a senior assistant at Old Geelong and Australian National University, will replace Lucas Gneil at the helm of the senior women’s team ahead of the 2022 season.
“I’m incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity,” Stephen said.
“Albert Park is a great club and they’ve shown significant growth in the women’s program over the last couple of years.
“(When enquiring about AP), the club was recommended to me as having a really good culture and great integration between the men’s and women’s teams.”
A Western Australian local, Stephen played junior football for Mt Lawley Inglewood JFC and went on to feature at senior level for Claremont (WAWFL), Woden Blues (AFL Canberra), Trinity College and Old Geelong.
But like a lot of coaches, Stephen’s coaching career started on the back of a spate of injuries.
“I just had my fifth knee operation,” she said.
“Through injury, I turned to coaching because I was one of the very few girls at that point in time that had any football experience under their belt.
“So, it was a natural progression that I was teaching girls basic skills, explaining basic game play to them and I naturally progressed into taking more of a leadership role and then into coaching.”
With years of senior coaching ahead of her, Stephen is already clear about the legacy she wants to leave.
“One thing I want to have as a coaching legacy is seeing an uptick in female coaching,” she said.
“Seeing a sustainable change and making sure women can see themselves represented at every level of the sport in every role possible.
“I really want to inspire an investment in female capability and leadership.”
Stephen will take over a talented Falcons outfit that was set to play in the Division 4 preliminary final before the cancellation of the season.