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The stories behind the coaches

Collingwood's women's team coaches for 2017 (from left): Brendan Major, Nikki Harwood, Wayne Siekman and Harmit Singh.

Four coaches with a wide range of football experience will lead Collingwood's female team in its inaugural 2017 AFL women's league campaign.

Wayne Siekman will lead the team as head coach, with Harmit Singh, Nikki Harwood and Brendan Major named as his assistants.

All have extensive coaching experience across both men's, women's and junior football.

Collingwood women’s football operations manager Meg Hutchins is excited by the prospect of bringing together what she believes is a successful coaching team.

“I wanted to cover all bases,” Hutchins explained the selection process.

“I’m happy I’ve got a really good spread of knowledge. The coaching dynamic is fantastic.”

Read the profiles of the coaches below and hear from all four on The Source in the video browser at the top of the page.

Wayne Siekman

Wayne Siekman has been announced as Collingwood’s first Women’s AFL Senior Coach.

The 33-year-old has been involved with the Dandenong Southern Stingrays in the TAC Cup Under 18 competition since 2006. During his decade at the club, he saw many players progress to AFL ranks and held roles such as Senior Assistant, midfield coach, back-line coach and forward-line coach.

Siekman began his coaching career at the age of 17 with Edithvale Aspendale after injuries prevented him from playing the game.

In 2008, he obtained a position at Collingwood’s newly established VFL side as an assistant development coach. He worked closely with Gavin Brown and Alan Richardson, today crediting the pair with helping his development as a coach. 

Siekman has been the Head Coach of the Victoria Metro Youth Girls side since 2014 and has won two National Championships with his side in three years.

In December last year, he spent a week with Nathan Buckley and Robert Harvey focusing on personal development, sitting in on team meetings and gaining valuable inner-sanctum experience.

Siekman is currently working on a project with the AFL Victoria to establish a skill curriculum for the Youth Girl Academies & also a football skill assessment form for individual personal development.

“We want to be the best and most professional football club out there,” Siekman said.

“We want to create a culture here so every player that’s here never wants to leave, and every player outside of this club wants to get in.”

Previous Roles:

  • 2006-2016 - Dandenong Southern Stingrays U18 (Senior Assistant Coach 2014-16, Assistant Coach 2011-2014, Development Coach 2006-2010)

  • 2014-2016 – Head Coach Victoria Metro Youth Girls (National Champions 2015 & 2016)

  • 2015-2016 – Assistant Coach Victoria Country U18 (National Champions 2015)

  • 2014 – Head Coach Sandringham Youth Girls Academy

  • 2013-2014 – Assistant Coach Victoria Country Futures U17

  • 2013 – Assistant Coach Victoria Metro Youth Girls (National Champions)

  • 2008 – Collingwood Football Club VFL Assistant Development Coach

  • 2004-2005 – Head Coach Chelsea Football Club U18s

Nikki Harwood

West Australian Nikki Harwood joins the Collingwood Women’s Team as midfield coach.

Harwood was an assistant coach with the Melbourne Women’s side in 2013 when they played their first AFL womens exhibition match against the Western Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs picked her up for the following year and she remained with them until 2016. 

Harwood coached East Fremantle in the WAWFL to the premiership in 2011, where she remained for three seasons. In addition to that she was senior coach of the Southern Thunder (also WAWFL) in 2004, was head coach of the Women’s All Stars in 2012 and 2014 and in 2015 became a forward scout for East Fremantle in the men’s WAFL.

After being named in Australia’s preliminary squad for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in badminton, Harwood had to withdraw and retire due to stress fractures in her back.

She took up football as a result and hasn’t looked back. She brings intimate knowledge to the coaching panel, having played with and against a lot of the women who will make up the inaugural league in 2017.

Away from football, Harwood is a full-time firefighter with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in Western Australia and has been doing that for 13 years.

Turning her focus solely towards football from November to March next year, Harwood holds high expectations for Collingwood's success.

“There’s no reason why we can’t go all the way,” she said.

“It’s going to be on us to develop our players individually. If they can all exceed individually then that flows on as a team and ultimately the end prize will take care of itself.”

Previous Roles:

  • 2015 – Forward Scout East Fremantle, WAFL

  • 2015 – Assistant Coach, Western Bulldogs Women’s Team, Women’s AFL Exhibition Match

  • 2014 – Co-Senior Coach Western Bulldogs Women’s Team, Women’s AFL Exhibition Match

  • 2014 – Senior Coach WA Indigenous All Stars South, Nicky Winmar Carnival

  • 2014-2015 – Senior Coach WA Female High Performance Talent Academy

  • 2013 – Assistant Coach Melbourne FC Women’s Team, Women’s AFL Exhibition match

  • 2013 – Assistant Coach WA Women’s Team

  • 2011-2013 – Senior Coach East Fremantle, WA Women’s Football League (Premiers 2011)

  • 2012 – Assistant Coach National Female High Performance Academy

  • 2012 – Senior Coach Women’s Indigenous All-Stars, Yorga Koodjal Kadadjiny Match

  • 2012 – Assistant Coach WA U18 Youth Girls Team

  • 2010 – Assistant Coach WA U18 Youth Girls Team2004 

  • 2004 – Senior Coach Southern Thunder, WA Women’s Football League

Brendan Major

Victorian Brendan Major takes the role of Forward Coach with the Magpies’ inaugural women’s team.

Major is currently the Head Coach of the Eastern Devils, who play in the Premier Division of the Victorian Women’s Football League.

He claimed the VWFL Coach of the Year in 2015, his highest honour to date.

From 2011 until 2013, Major studied a Masters of Science in Western Ontario, Canada, specifically kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movements.  This experience gave Major the opportunity to see world class facilities and prepare and train Olympians, NFL players and NHL players.

Prior to his move to Canada, Major was the Strength and Conditioning coach of the Werribee Tigers in the VFL.

He is currently completing doctoral work in brain trauma and wants to continue to developing AFL-ready female footballers.

Major brings an extremely enthusiastic persona and analytic mind to the Collingwood coaching panel.

Previous roles:

  • 2014-2016 - Senior Coach Eastern Devils Football Club, VWFL

  • 2015-2016 - Strength and Conditioning Coach, VWFL

  • 2010-2013 - Strength and Conditioning Coach, Western University2008-2010  

  • 2008-2010 - Strength and Conditioning Coach, Werribee Tigers FC

Harmit Singh

The extremely talented Harmit Singh will enter 2017 as the back-line coach for the Collingwood Women’s AFL side.

Singh has extensive experience in leadership roles, including his current job of Playing Coach for Northcote Park FC in division one of Melbourne's Northern Football League.

In 2009 and 2010, Singh played for the Collingwood VFL side, and previously had represented the Bendigo Bombers.

He joined Morwell Football Club in 2013 as Playing Coach and took a mid-table side to back-to-back premierships, winning Grand Finals alongside former Magpie Tarkyn Lockyer.

Last year, Singh co-coached Xavier College’s Year 10 team with Luke Hodge.

Singh has worked at Collingwood FC for the past eight years in its community engagement team.

Being at the club means he has seen the women's team grow from the beginning.

"We've filled a number of roles off the field as well (as the coaches)," he said.

"I think that's going to create a really good environment for the girls. The girls that are here are really going to not want to leave."

Previous roles:

  • 2016 - Senior Assistant Coach Northern Football League Interleague

  • 2016 - Northern Knights U16 Youth Academy Coach
  • 2015 - Assisted Collingwood VFL pre-season

  • 2015-2016 - Northcote Park F.C Senior Playing Coach, NFL

  • 2015-2016 - Coach Preston Bullants U17, Yarra JFL

  • 2014 - Senior Coach Gippsland Football League Interleague

  • 2013-2015 - Coach Xavier College Year 10 team, APS

  • 2013-2014 - Playing Coach Morwell FNC, Gippsland Football League

  • 2012 - Senior Coach Castlemaine U18, BFNL

  • 2006-2012 - Wesley College Year 7, 8, 9 & 10 teams, APS

  • 2007 - Assistant Coach Oakleigh Chargers U16, TAC Cup 

  • 2006 - Assistant Coach Oakleigh Chargers U16, TAC Cup