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Searle named Football Woman of the Year

Peta Searle on the day she was appointed to St Kilda's coaching staff.
St Kilda Football Club congratulates development coach Peta Searle on her award as the 2014 Football Woman of the Year, presented at the Grand Final Comedy Debate today.

Searle made history this year after becoming the first female to hold a coaching position at AFL level and was recognised for her significant contribution to the game.

[ In their boots - Peta Searle video ]

Searle had earlier won in the professional category of the Football Woman of the year awards, while another St Kilda representative, supporter Barb Datson was awarded the “heart and soul award”.

St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis commended Searle on her achievement and praised her important role at the elite level.

“Peta’s appointment as a development coach this season was a significant step forward for the AFL and all women who have ambitions to grow and develop in leadership positions,” Finnis said.

“The Football Woman of the Year Award is a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of talented women who help grow and develop the game at every level and we as a club are committed to supporting women in leadership.”

“I would also like to congratulate Barb Datson, who works tirelessly as the president of our womens’ supporter group the Angels to volunteer her time to the community and our football club.”

Searle worked with St Kilda’s young up and coming players throughout the 2014 season, playing a role in the Saints’ VFL affiliate’s first finals win since 2006.

St Kilda senior coach Alan Richardson said Searle's passion for the game and willingness to advocate for women in football was admirable.

“Each and every week Peta has displayed commitment and diligence in her role as a coach,” Richardson said.

“We are delighted the industry is formally recognising her contribution to the game and the impact she has had on our development program.”