Craig Starcevich (left) and Scott Gowans. Pictures: AFL Photos

LEADING Sydney from a winless season in season seven to a semi-final in 2023 has seen coach Scott Gowans crowned the joint AFL Coaches Association AFLW Senior Coach of the Year, sharing the honour with Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich.

The Swans blossomed in 2023, winning six games and making their maiden finals series after finishing at the bottom of the ladder the year prior.

"It’s something I’ll probably reflect on a little later, but I’m very proud to win this award. I’m well aware it’s the result of being able to work with great people who make my job a lot easier," Gowans said of receiving the honour.

"Time has been key to success, time to plan and prepare. In my case, I had a number of weeks off where I couldn’t work so I was able to sit and think and strategize and it allowed me to come back better, and ready to go. Time is a marvellous thing. Obviously too, the training habits of the players, having time to prepare and have a proper pre-season, that really helped us.

"This award wouldn’t have been possible without my support network - my wife Jodie, the club, Kate (Mahony) and Tom (Harley), the coaching staff and of course the players."

Scott Gowans at Sydney's AFLW training session on July 27, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Inaugural coach Starcevich will lead the Lions into their competition-record fifth NAB AFLW Grand Final on Sunday.

It's the third time he's been crowned coach of the year.

"I’m honoured to be named as AFLCA AFLW Senior Coach of the Year," Starcevich said.

Jennifer Dunne and Craig Starcevich celebrate during Brisbane's preliminary final against Geelong on November 25, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"This is a win for our coaching and fitness/medical as a whole, who have been terrific this season dealing with a number of significant challenges along the way."

Starcevich's adversary this Sunday, North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker, placed third while Geelong coach Dan Lowther came fourth.