Peta Searle at the Saints first joint training session. Photo: saints.com.au

Inaugural St Kilda AFLW coach Peta Searle has departed St Kilda after spending seven years at Moorabbin.

Inaugural St Kilda AFLW coach Peta Searle has made the decision to depart St Kilda to pursue leadership roles beyond her senior coaching role.

Searle was the coach of the Saints first VFLW team and helped shape the club’s AFLW side when it was introduced into the competition in 2020.

“After spending over seven years at St Kilda Football Club, parting ways isn’t easy,” Searle said.

“My time at the Saints has been amazing and the opportunity to lead young men and women on their playing journey is something I am so grateful for.

“My greatest achievement and pleasure has been setting up the AFLW program- watching it grow from a bid right up to where the club is now.

“Having won three games in each of our seasons so far is something I am really proud of and I leave St Kilda feeling as though I have left an important footprint and a great foundation for future success.”

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St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis thanked Searle for her contribution to the football club over her seven-year period at the club.

“On behalf of everyone at the football club, from the board to the players, staff and supporters, I want to express our enormous gratitude to Peta for her commitment and so professionally building the foundations of our AFLW program from scratch,” he said.

“Peta’s passion and determination has helped us shape the culture of our women’s program that we see and appreciate today.

“She has invested the highest level of time and energy into shaping the next generation of footballers and we will always be grateful for the commitment shown to the club over the past seven years.

“Since walking through the doors in 2014, she has embraced every challenge and opportunity from her appointment as the first female full-time AFL Assistant Coach to establishing the foundations for the club’s first-ever women’s side at the Saints and her achievements will go down in the history books. 

“Her accolades and successes speak for themselves but the way in which she approached the challenge of building a young squad and fostering a culture of care for and commitment to one another has been particularly impressive. 

“We’ve been very fortunate to have had Peta Searle and her family involved at our football club and we thank them for embracing the club’s journey so wholeheartedly. 

“I have no doubt that with the opportunities before her, the impact of Peta’s leadership will only continue to grow beyond St Kilda.”

St Kilda will begin the search to look for a new senior coach in 2022 and beyond, whilst Searle has been linked to the vacant Geelong role.

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