Gold Coast SUNS AFLW player Jamie Stanton and former All-Australian Jo Butland have been named as the two Head Coaches for the inaugural North Queensland (NQ) vs. South Queensland (SQ) Intrastate Women’s Rep Clash.
The game, to be played on July 2nd on the Gold Coast, will be a history making moment for female football in Queensland with players from the six established women’s competitions in regional Queensland and six in Southeast Queensland making up the squads.
A legend locally in North Queensland, and a pioneer for women’s football spanning 25 years, 10-time AFL Cairns Premiership winning player Jo Butland heads up the NQ coaching team.
Butland, who’s long list of accolades includes playing in over 200 games and notching three best on ground performances in a Grand Final, league best and fairest four times, Queensland player and captain, All Australian player 2005, 2006, 2007(Captain) and 2011, coaching at a local level, representative level for Queensland, PNG and Gold Coast Suns AFLW and was awarded AFL Cairns Coach of the Year 2011 to 2014.
With a Medal in her namesake; the Jo Butland Medal for AFL Cairns Women’s Best and Fairest and title of the 2020 NAB AFLW Community Cup Ambassador in Queensland, Butland says the job of inaugural NQ Head Coach was an honour.
“I grew up in North Queensland and I know firsthand the talent that we have up here,” she said.
“It will be great to coach and showcase the group of girls that we ultimately select. The rep program is a hugely important part of the female talent pathway, especially for some of players that are in their early 20s and are thinking ‘do I still have a chance?’
“We’ve seen the likes of Jacqui Dupuy go down south, play in the QAFLW and get picked up by the Gold Coast SUNS. It’s opening the players eyes to those possibilities.
“It’s really important this year because we’ve got four new teams to come into the AFLW and whilst NQ is in the SUNS catchment, I think the other AFLW clubs will be starting to take notice of the talent we have coming through Queensland and these rep opportunities give those scouts the chance to look at our players.”
Butland is strong in her conviction when she says the talent in NQ isn’t to be underestimated and is confident the team can take it to the SQ side.
“We’ve got a really strong brand of footy up here in North Queensland and we breed them tough,” she said.
“The skill development and quality of competitions across North Queensland is growing every year. Cairns is probably the biggest league, but Townsville is growing, we’re seeing good, young talent come out of Mackay which is just bolstering their numbers and likewise with Rocky, so it’s a really exciting time for female footy.”
Butland is supported by Gold Coast SUNS AFLW Assistant Coach Kieran Daley, Jennifer Revell from the Mackay City Hawks and Meg Greenland from the Curra Swans in Townsville, and says bringing coaches through the rep program is just as important.
Gold Coast SUNS Club Champion in 2020 and part of the 2022 leadership group, Jamie Stanton, who’s also played for the Brisbane Lions and North Melbourne AFLW teams, has been appointed SQ Head Coach.
“It’s a great feeling to be selected as Head Coach and it’s nice to know I have the experience and the ability levels to coach at that level, as well as the belief from AFL Queensland,” she said.
“To be honest, I want it to be about the girls, it’s not about me; it’s about them and how I can help make them better players.”
Stanton grew up on the Gold Coast and came through the Queensland female football pathway.
“I think there is a lot of untapped talent out there locally. They’ve seen the rise of AFLW and there’s more girls playing footy year on year, so it will be great to see that talent on show in the rep match,” she said.
Stanton will be supported by her long time mentor and former SUNS AFLW Coach David Lake.
“It’s really special – he’s been a mentor to me now for about six or so years – since the start of AFLW. So it’s nice to be able to build on our relationship and hopefully he can help to develop a different coaching aspect on myself and the other coaches and give advice and wisdom to the girls in the squad.
Asked whether a career in coaching is on the cards for Stanton after she hangs up the boots?
“I’ve done a lot of Academy, club and school coaching and it’s something that I am looking at growing and seeing where it takes me,” she said.
“I think I am in a really lucky position at the moment that I have some knowledge and experience and with my job as a teacher I think they marry up really well.”
Rounding out the SQ coaching team is Sandgate’s Ben Long, Ariana Reilly from Coorparoo and Lisa Milne from Mt Gravatt.
The game will be played at the Southport Sharks on July 2nd.
SQ – QFAW, Wide Bay and Darling Downs leagues
Jamie Stanton – Head Coach (GC SUNS AFLW)
Ben Long – Lead Assistant Coach (Sandgate)
Ariana Reilly – Assistant Coach (Coorparoo)
Lisa Milne – Assistant Coach (Mt Gravatt)
David Lake – Coach Mentor
NQ – Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton leagues
Jo Butland – Head Coach (North Cairns)
Kieran Daley – Lead Assistant Coach (GC SUNS AFLW)
Jennifer Revell – Assistant Coach (Mackay City Hawks)
Meg Greenland – Assistant Coach (Curra Swans)