Kambalda girl grabs coach award
Female AFL coach, Michelle Cowan, is moving up the ranks in her career. Picture: Lincoln Baker

From kicking the football in the backyard of her Kambalda family home, Michelle Cowan is now the toast of the State coaching fraternity after being formally recognised as WA's Australian Rules football coach of the year.

There is no doubting Cowan has come along way from her days in the Goldfields, after moving to the town in Year 4.

Cowan attended Kambalda West Primary School for four years before leaving the region to begin Year 8 at a Perth boarding school.

She said her memories of her formative years were fond, especially those spent with her older brother Jeremy developing a love for Australia's national game.

"I loved growing up there," Cowan said. "It was all about getting on your bike, being at the park and always playing sport.

"I've always had a pretty healthy rivalry with my brother growing up and we played a lot of backyard cricket and backyard footy.

"It was a great place to grow up and I really enjoyed my time in Kambalda."

Cowan was honoured as part of the 2014 Sports Industry Coaches and Officials Awards held in Perth last Friday.

A coach of numerous sports for the past 15 years, the 32-year-old's passion for the game is evident - mentoring footballers for the past 11 years.

The current reserves and league midfield coach at South Fremantle Football Club - a role she has held since late 2012 - Cowan is beginning to leave her imprint on the sport.

The mother of two also steered this year's WA youth girls team to the national championship - creating history as the first State to take the title outside Victoria.

"It's pretty amazing and an absolute honour to win the award," she said.

"The last 12 months have been quite big in regards to my coaching and taking it to the next level.

"So it's nice to be recognised."

Last month, Cowan gained an insight into AFL coaching as part of Melbourne's coaching team for their round 9 victory over Richmond.

Cowan will return to the MCG this month when leading Melbourne into battle against the Western Bulldogs in a special women's match.

Cowan welcomed the opportunity to test herself further.

"It was brilliant to work with the likes of Paul Roos," she said. "He was absolute class, especially in the way he went about things.

"I love the challenge of stepping up, and getting a chance to is a wonderful opportunity."

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