Belle Dawes and Dakota Davidson speak during the AFL Academy jumper presentation at Marvel Stadium on April 5, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE SECOND generation of AFLW players-turned-coaches is well on its way.

Brisbane premiership stars Belle Dawes (22 years old) and Dakota Davidson (25) have lent their expertise to the Under-23 All Stars composite side, which took on the AFLW Academy earlier this year.

With former AFLW players such as Lauren Arnell, Daisy Pearce, Lisa Webb, Sam Virgo and Tanya Hetherington now holding senior coaching or senior assistant roles in the AFLW competition, the Lions pair are representative of the next era gradually working their way through the system.

"I do a bit of (club) Academy coaching as well, up in Brisbane, so I was like 'yep, this is a great opportunity'. It's probably been one of the [most fun] coaching gigs I've had, it's just been an awesome experience," Dawes said.

"I've done a bit of one-on-one kicking coaching. I love skills. And for two years, I've been doing midfield with the Lions' Academy, 16 to 18-year-olds. It's been really fun, and we've had a few of them drafted. I'm loving coaching, it makes me better as a player, but it's awesome to see these girls grow and help guide them [in chasing] their dreams."


Davidson is just dipping her toe into the coaching landscape, but is keen to pass on her knowledge and experience to the younger players starting to enter the elite system.

"I've realised how tough it is to be a coach, and a line coach. I take my hat off to all coaches that can do the job they do. 'Starce' (Lions coach Craig Starcevich), I've got a lot of respect for him, having been through what we did today. He does a bloody good job," Davidson said.

"One thing Craig taught me is you have to connect with your players, not as players but as people as well. I'm not just 'Daks' the footy player, I'm Daks the person. I think connecting with them on a deeper level and finding out who they are as people is very important and I'll take that into my coaching."