Sandringham Football Club is pleased to announce Dale Robinson as Head Coach of the Southern Saints for the 2021 VFLW season. Robinson has been with the Saints as an Assistant Coach since 2018 and in that time has demonstrated why she is the perfect person to lead the side in 2021.
Speaking on her appointment, Robinson, who spent time as a development coach with the St Kilda AFLW side in 2020, said she is “super keen” to begin her new role.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to jump in and step up to the next level,” she said.
“I’ve had a couple of great years working closely with Pete (Peta Searle) and Paddy (Patrick Hill) last year and some other coaches coming through that have really helped me get to that point where I feel I’m ready to take that next step.”
Becoming a Head Coach was always the goal for Robinson, who says the additional coaching responsibility she was given in 2019 has her well prepared to guide the Saints.
“I think often female coaches doubt their ability to take that next step, but last year I had the opportunity to lead the girls a lot more because Paddy and I were working across both programs and it meant I got to step up and assist while Patty had responsibilities with the AFLW side,” she said.
“So it was a good precursor to being able to step up for this year.”
Despite being a relatively new VFLW club, the Saints have already played in a preliminary final (in 2019) and will be aiming for finals again in 2020.
“Playing finals is always something that you want to aspire to but really it’s about the development of the girls and the cohesion of the team,” Robinson said.
“I think we’ve got a really strong group that will develop really well this year and I think we’ve got an opportunity to hopefully go deep into finals.
“We’ve managed to keep the group from this year really close and we want to get those girls continuing through. We’ll also look at blooding some of the girls that maybe just missed out on AFLW last year coming out of our junior region.”
With the VFLW season set to begin in February and for the first time be played simultaneously with the AFLW, more opportunities will open up for non-AFLW players.
“It will give the girls that don’t get selected at AFLW the chance to still play some really good footy at state league level and what you’ll often find is that some of the girls that probably need some additional footy as a part of their AFLW journey, will often drop back and jump into the VFL to continue their development,” Robinson said.
Outside of footy Robinson works full-time with Australia Post as part of their Enterprise Safety Team. She says that the time away from footy this year has been “a little bit of a blessing”.
“Last year being across both programs was a huge commitment and I probably didn’t realise how tired I was until I had to stop,” she said.
“So, it’s been a really good refresh to sit back and think about the things that I want from a football perspective, as well as balancing everything else in life. I’m at a stage now where I’m ready to get started and give all my energy into this program and focus on one program rather than split across two.”
Written by Matthew Hughes - Sandringham Football Club Media