Women making AFL North Coast history in 2021

Lismore Swans’ Laura Cahill and the Coffs Harbour Breakers Katika Adams have made AFL North Coast history.


THE start of the AFLW season has put the extraordinary feats of women in footy back in the national spotlight.

And one Coffs Harbour woman has smashed through the glass ceiling to become the first woman to coach a senior men’s side in AFL North Coast history.

Katika Adams will take the reins of the Coffs Harbour Breakers seniors’ side for the upcoming AFL North Coast season.

Adams has been an integral part of the Breakers in recent seasons, captaining the club’s women’s side to a premiership last year, and assisting the men’s coach in the senior men’s premiership win in 2019.

Adams first got involved in Australian Rules whilst living in Western Australia.

She reconnected with footy when she moved back to the North Coast region.

An injury whilst playing in last season’s grand final was the silver lining in becoming the head coach of her beloved club.

“I injured my knee in last year’s grand final and have had to have a reconstruction so I can’t play in 2021,” she said.

“When the club approached me about coaching, I was chuffed as I absolutely love the club and all the people associated with it, so wanted to stay involved.”

The forward and top goal kicker brings some recent experience in being involved with the Breakers inner sanctum.

“In 2019 I helped the Senior coach which was a chance to dip my toe in the water with an historically male dominated role,” she said.

“Coaching is harder than it looks but I was ready for a challenge and to develop a new skill set,

“I was worried about how I would be perceived as a female co-coaching a senior men’s team however the guys have been very supportive and positive.

“I look forward to a great year ahead with them.”

The Breakers premiership player said women played a big role at the club.

“The club has been great, very supportive of women’s footy, the girls are such a big part of the club it’s like a big family,” she said.

Adams isn’t the only woman who will make AFL North Coast history this season.

With the Lismore Swans set to join the AFL North Coast competition, the club will also bring the competitions first ever female president.

Laura Cahill takes charge of the Swans this year as she becomes the first female club president in AFL North Coast history.

Cahill first became involved with the Swans with the introduction of the women’s competition in 2016.

After starting in an operations role for the women’s team, Cahill moved into the role of club secretary for two years before the then president asked her to take over the head role.

AFL North Coast’s Community Manager Paul Taylor told Coffs Coast News Of The Area women like Adams and Cahill continued to make an impact in local Aussie Rules.

“Women continue to smash the glass ceiling in local footy as this year AFL North Coast will have its first female President of a Senior club and first female coach of an open age men’s team,” he said.

“That’s an outstanding achievement by the two individuals, and is also a fantastic reflection on how highly local footy clubs value the contribution of women.”

Adams and Cahill continue what is becoming a rich tradition of women blazing a trail in the AFL North Coast competition.

Jill Woodlock and Shirley Linnett are both Life Members of AFL North Coast, while Amanda Guthrie became the first woman in the state to umpire a Senior men’s Grand Final when she officiated the 2016 AFL North Coast decider.

Six AFL North Coast junior clubs have also had female Presidents.



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