In a first for the Kempsey Saints Football Club, two women have been appointed as coaches of their respective senior teams.
Amy O’Brien, 23, is in charge of Saints Green while Abigael Baker has the reigns of Saints White in the women’s senior competition.
Former women’s coach and Kempsey Saints president Matthew Baker encouraged the two women to have a voice in the side’s premiership campaign last season.
“Before games and at halftime we would be asked for input and at training we would help run drills,” O’Brien said. “It definitely helped plant the seed in our heads that we wanted to be coaching the women’s seniors for this year.”
Abigael Baker has been coaching junior sides for the last two years and is currently in the process of becoming the youngest person on the Mid North Coast to obtain a Youth C license in coaching.
She was the assistant coach of the Under 12s Mid North Coast side that competed at the state level competition in 2016.
Both Baker and O’Brien have competed in the Herald Women’s League in Newcastle and have played football since they were five.
“In my experience coaching the junior sides, I have noticed the girls respond better with a female coaching them and it has been evident again this season working with the senior women,” Baker said.
The club had 16 new registered women for the senior sides and the decision was made to expand into two teams.
“The success and social club reputation we have encouraged girls to join the club,” Baker said.
“Amy and myself discussed whether we should try to defend our title and stack a side with strong players and we decided to ask the girls what they thought.
“Everyone agreed it would be best to balance the sides evenly.”
The two believe their sides will be competitive this season and are a chance of meeting each other in the grand final decider.
They face off for the first time in round four, but they both laughed at the suggestion there would be a rivalry.
“I don’t think it will be too competitive,” O’Brien said.
“There are quite a few good friends on either side and there will be a lot of laughs.”
Baker’s side has a bye to start the season while O’Brien’s team faces the Port United Strikers on home soil on Saturday at 12.50pm.
The Saints women’s side became the first senior team in the club’s history to win a competition last year, defeating the Port United Strikers 4-1 in the grand final.