Pioneering coach Peta Searle has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to the AFL.

Searle, a trailblazer for women's footy was appointed by St Kilda in 2014 as the first full-time female assistant coach in the men's competition.

Prior to the appointment, she became the first female assistant coach in the VFL with Port Melbourne in 2012 after leading Darebin to multiple premierships in the VWFL.

While her contribution has been recognised in the Queen Birthday Honours, it is by no means over with Searle appointed as Senior Coach of the inaugural Saints AFLW team. 

CEO Matt Finnis said it was great recognition of years of dedication to our sport.

“We’re really lucky to have Peta Searle at our football club and we are very proud of this achievement,” Finnis said.

“This is recognition of many years of hard work and determination to coach at the highest level and also the time and energy she has put into to so many young footballers over the years.

“She has set a remarkable example to all young women in our industry that anything is possible.

“We can’t wait for Peta to take charge of our historic first AFLW side next year.”