HAWTHORN has landed a high-quality coach with years of experience in women’s football with the appointment of Cherie O’Neill to lead its VFLW team next season.

O’Neill has an impressive coaching resume that most recently saw her as an assistant coach at NAB League club Bendigo Pioneers.

She replaces newly-appointed AFLW coach Bec Goddard, who will be able to focus fully on driving Hawthorn’s preparation for its entry into the AFLW competition in the 2023 season.

O’Neill coached the Pioneers’ NAB League Girls team and the Vic Country Under-18 Girls in 2020 before filling assistant coaching roles for both teams (plus the Pioneers’ boys) and leading the Vic Country Under-17 girls this year.

She coached the under-16 Country team while also serving as a forward line development coach at Essendon VFLW in 2019 after spending two years as an assistant with the Pioneers’ boys and leading the Bendigo Thunder’s transition from the former VWFL competition into the Central Victoria Football League in 2016-17.

Cherie O'Neill addresses the Vic Country team at the 2019 AFLW U16 Championships. Picture: Getty Images

The Hawks’ website states O’Neill’s appointment continues their proud history of supporting and developing female coaches across the club’s women’s football programs.

Hawthorn general manager of VFL & VFLW Daniel Napoli said O’Neill was a character of great passion and commitment to her craft.

“Cherie is an experienced coach who has done everything right to now take on this role,” he told hawthornfc.com.au

“It’s the logical next step in her coaching journey.

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“She understands the challenge ahead of her, leading a competitive VFLW outfit whilst also having a lens on developing the next wave of future AFLW talent for Hawthorn through our VFLW program. 

“We’re really excited to see what Cherie can do in this next step in her coaching career and we believe she will be a great addition to the brown and gold family.”

Goddard said O’Neill’s wealth of experience in developing young girls would hold her in strong stead at Box Hill City Oval.

“Cherie’s name is held in a really high regard in these development football programs,” she told the website.

“She has a wonderful understanding of how to get the best out of her players and how to create an environment where people can really grow.

“I’m really excited to work alongside her as we look to ensure Hawthorn makes waves in the women’s football landscape.”

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL