Daisy Pearce appointed West Coast Eagles AFLW coach amid interest from Dani Laidley

The Melbourne Demons champion has scored a new job as a senior head coach.

Daisy Pearce and Dani Laidley.
Daisy Pearce is the new West Coast Eagles AFLW coach after Dani Laidley had expressed her interest. Image: Getty

Daisy Pearce has been named as the new coach of the West Coast Eagles in the AFLW. The position became available when Michael Prior stepped down from the role in October.

The 35-year-old worked as an assistant coach with the Geelong Cats men's team in 2023, a role that sparked controversy due to her commitments with Channel 7. She will now turn her focus to resurrecting the Eagles after a nightmarish three years.

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“The decision to leave Geelong was a difficult one and I want to thank the club for everything they have done for me over the last twelve months," Pearce said in a statement. “In a short time I learnt an enormous amount and have been surrounded by colleagues who I admire and feel so fortunate to have worked with.

“I’m grateful for the confidence the team have shown in appointing me for this incredible opportunity. I’m excited to be a senior coach, particularly with this young Eagles team that has so much upside.

“It has come at the right time for me and this a role and a move that my family and I are going to embrace. I feel a great sense of responsibility for shaping the right environment and adding to the good foundations that are already here to develop this emerging list of players. I can’t wait to get started by playing a role during the remainder of the sign and trade period and at next week’s draft.”

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Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett said: "We are obviously thrilled to have someone of Daisy's standing joining our club. This is a tremendous fillip for our women's program and she comes to us at an ideal time to assist in the growth and development of our team.

"Daisy's record speaks for itself and she has all the credentials required to help our young squad achieve their undoubted potential. I know our players will be absolutely delighted with this appointment. While we are thrilled to have her on board, she is equally excited by the opportunity and is keen to get to work as soon as possible in directing the evolution of the squad."

Pearce played 55 games for the Melbourne Demons in the AFLW and led them to the premiership in 2022. She is now a successful commentator and pundit with Channel 7, and has an array of knowledge that will help the Eagles amid a difficult few years.

West Coast have won just five games in the past three years, finishing last, second-last and third-last in that time. Pearce was also an All-Australian three times (once as captain), and a three-time best-and-fairest winner at the Demons.

Daisy Pearce wins West Coast AFLW job over Dani Laidley

Pearce's appointment comes after Dani Laidly had expressed interest in the West Coast job. “We've been waiting until the documentary ('Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes') came out because I was contracted for that," she said last month. "It's been a passion of mine and I've sort of been ready for about 12 months and even actually for this AFLW season, I was asked to do a coaching role at one of the Melbourne teams. But I couldn't because I was contracted for the doco. People have connected the dots, West Coast have got a position available and yes, I want to coach again.

“But let's not put the cart before the horse. It's very easy to as I say, connect those dots. But it’s true (my ambition to return) it's been a few years now in the making.

“West Coast is the only club at the moment that don’t have a coach for their women's team. There may be some other clubs in Melbourne as well who make a decision not to go with their coach. It sounds like a good fit. But there could be some other things happening down the track. I'm just being prepared for any scenario.”

The 56-year-old Laidley played 151 AFL matches across a 10-year career with the Eagles and North Melbourne, winning a premiership with the latter in 1996. After her playing career finished she had a seven-year coaching stint with the Kangaroos which spanned 149 games from 2003 to 2009. She later held positions at Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton as an assistant coach in 2015.

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