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AFLW: Ex-Blue signs on as new Carlton coach

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Daniel Harford is the Blues' new AFLW senior coach - AFLW,Carlton Blues,Daniel Harford
Daniel Harford is the Blues' new AFLW senior coach

ONE PIECE of the NAB AFL Women's coaching puzzle has fallen into place, with Daniel Harford appointed Carlton coach for the 2019 season.

Harford, who played 153 games for Hawthorn and nine for Carlton between 1995 and 2004, was senior assistant and midfield coach for Collingwood's AFLW side this year. 

He replaces Damien Keeping, who mutually parted ways with the club at the conclusion of the 2018 season, in which the team finished last.

It was a tumultuous year for the Blues, with list manager Graham Burgen quitting halfway through the season and Keeping missing two matches due to illness.

Captain and 2017 best and fairest Brianna Davey also tore her ACL in round two. 

Harford has an extensive coaching record behind him, leading Eastern Football League powerhouse Balwyn (in Melbourne's east) to a division one premiership.

The 41-year-old has also coached St Kevin's to a premiership in the Premier B division of the Victorian Amateur Football Association competition in metropolitan Melbourne.

CEO Cain Liddle welcomed Harford back to Carlton, also signalling a new manager of women's football would be announced soon.

 "We’re delighted Daniel has accepted the role as our AFLW senior coach. He has a long and distinguished career as both a player and a coach and has a clear understanding of what we stand for in our AFLW program and across the football club more broadly," Liddle said.

"With this announcement, and the impending appointment of a new general manager of women’s football at the club, we have strengthened the program considerably as we continue to invest in women’s football. 

"We went through a thorough process to get the best candidate available and Daniel has significant experience and knowledge across a number of levels in football. There was a strong alignment in his values and teachings and that is what set him apart, so we are thrilled to welcome him back to the Carlton Football Club."

 

Harford, who will start work at Carlton immediately, said he was honoured by the appointment.

"I relished my time in the AFLW system this year and it opened my eyes to the opportunities and challenges presented by women’s football. I’d like to thank the Collingwood Football Club for my time with their program over the past year," Harford said.

"I have a real passion for developing young football talent, so I hope I can build on the program that has already been established at the Blues, while also leaning on my previous coaching experience.

"I’m elated to continue my football journey at Carlton and I’m very thankful for the opportunity."

It's a big loss for arch-rival Collingwood, with Harford proving to be a popular assistant coach who added much to the football program. 

Speaking to AFL.com.au at the start of the AFLW season, he said he was enjoying his time at the Magpies. 

"I hadn't coached women before, but I'm absolutely loving it. They're so eager to learn," he said.

Harford will continue his media role with radio station RSN.

The appointment leaves Adelaide and Fremantle as AFLW sides without coaches, following the departures of Bec Goddard and Michelle Cowan.