BOMADERRY Tigers coach Geoff Gibbs has been rewarded for his fantastic results on the field during the past 18 months, by being named as one of the inaugural AFL South Coast women's representative co-coaches.
After co-coaching the Tigers to a historic flag in 2018 and taking on the full role this season, which has seen the black and gold open the season with two wins, Gibbs was recently appointed to lead the women's side, along with Wollongong Lions' Ben Hyndes, in their first ever representative match on Saturday, May 18 against AFL Hunter Central Coast - who already have a number of fixtures under their belts.
"Having the opportunity to coach the best female players in the competition was definitely a huge factor to why I put my hand up to coach,"Gibbs said.
"Looking back over last season and seeing where the game is heading already this season, with an increased skill level and intensity by all the players involved across the league, is a very exciting time to be involved with them all.
"I also want to acknowledge the appointment of Ben Hyndes who is the Illawarra Academy of Sports youth girls coach.
"He's an impressive young guy with a great love for the game and an equal interest in women's sport.
"I really look forward to working with him."
With that in mind, Gibbs, who has also coached at the Victoria's Diamond Valley League, the Navy and the Albatross Demons, is honoured to be chosen for the role.
"It's obviously a great honour to be considered for such a position," he said.
"I've been a huge advocate for equality in women's sports for more than 20 years now and to have the chance to be involved in another elite female athlete program was something I couldn't pass up.
"From a personal perspective, I would like to think I can bring a wealth of experience to the group.
"I've always thought I have a pretty level head and I communicate well with people.
"I think coaching in most sports is more about good management of your athletes than it is about individual skills, they tend to develop naturally over time."
Looking ahead to the historic clash, which will coincide with the AFL South Coast men's team, coached by Kiama's Rod Richards, playing the AFL Hunter Central Coast at Newcastle on the same day, Gibbs is looking forward to the challenge.
"With this only being the second season of the senior women's competition for our league, it will be an extremely big step up in the level of play that we are used to," Gibbs said.
"However I am more than confident that those players that will represent the AFL South Coast will be more than competitive against what will be a very strong opponent.
"If we can hold our own across the ground, anything is possible."
Gibbs, Hyndes and the selection panel will initially select a squad of close to 40 players before reducing it to the final 20, which will be announced on Monday, May 13 - following a number of training sessions.