Bec Goddard says it is time sporting industries stopped following a parked car and shatter the culture hovering over high performance sport as they hunt for a winning edge.
"The answer is right in front of you", and all it asks in return is a little bit more than a bottle of red wine.
Goddard's dream of a professional football coaching role has reached another fork in the road after the Gold Coast Suns went in another direction and hired David Lake as the club's AFLW coach from 2020.
Instead the first AFLW premiership coach, who left the Adelaide Crows with no conceivable pathway to the AFL ahead of her, is preparing to lead Auskick programs in Canberra. Goddard has asked to mentor the junior boys, just so they can see it is normal to have a female coach.
Rightly or wrongly, Goddard feels the scrutiny placed on her as a woman in football is greater than that on a man. If anyone needs proof of her coaching prowess, the Canberra Capitals are desperate to get her back as an assistant for the 2019-20 WNBL season.
"I want to be able to make it really difficult for the sporting industry to say ‘no’ to me as a coach," Goddard said at Sport Australia's launch of talent programs aimed at increasing the number of female executives and coaches in elite sport.
"We can keep doing these great courses and networking with these amazing women, but at some point culture is going to have to change.
"The reality is over the last five months I spent an amazing amount of time with the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL learning. I think it’s really important to keep learning, players aren’t going to follow a parked car. But sporting industries need to stop following a parked car and keep hiring the same type of coach.
"It’s not easy. I’ve certainly had to bang some doors to get jobs. I’ve been paid in the form of a bottle of red wine instead of actual money like my male counterparts, not that there is anything wrong with red wine, but it would be good to be able to be recognised that I actually can coach football.
"I’ve got a couple of extra rings that bang on the door now, don’t I? I might put a little dent in there."
Goddard knew she had so much more to give after she was forced to leave her post at the Crows, and the Canberra Demons provided the answer as she helped their unlikely run to the NEAFL preliminary final last year.
However Goddard won't join the NEAFL side this season in an official capacity after her role with the Capitals overlapped with the Demons' pre-season campaign.
Capitals coach Paul Goriss says "if I'm being selfish, I want her to stay in Canberra" so she can continue to enforce the club's cultural standards in its quest for back-to-back WNBL championships.
But if he isn't, he would love to see her coaching in the AFL, adamant she deserves to be a professional coach like her male counterparts. At present there are no female coaches in AFLW.
"There should be more [female coaches], there are some great female coaches out there. They just need the opportunity, it’s not a risk, they need some to give them an opportunity," Goddard said.
"We’re always looking for a sporting edge, we’re spending a lot of money on technology to try to make our teams great. What is it that gets us further ahead than other teams?
"The answer is right in front of you, women provide a unique perspective, and that is the sporting edge. It’s actually quite cheap because we don’t cost very much."
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