Recently retired Collingwood AFLW foundation player and vice-captain Emma Grant has been awarded the 2020 AFL Coaches Association & Lucky Chicken Eggs Coaching Pathway Scholarship.
Grant who played a key part in the Pies' AFLW journey, leading on and off the field since arriving in 2017, retired at the end of the 2020 AFLW Season due to injury. A physical education teacher by trade, Grant is a true student of the game who has a coaching philosophy centred around player development; providing a positive learning environment to allow each individual to grow as a person and as a player.
To date Grant’s coaching experiences have included Head Coach, Assistant and Specialist Coach roles, in a range of settings including regional interleague, representative underage and Academy coaching. Through these roles she has shown great ambition and a huge thirst for knowledge.
The AFL Coaches Association & Lucky Chicken Eggs Coaching Pathway Scholarship was launched at the start of 2019 to support ambitions of AFLW players and fast-track their development to coach at the highest level.
Grant is the second scholarship recipient. The inaugural winner of the AFL Coaches Association & Lucky Chicken Eggs Coaching Pathway Scholarship was GIANTS Captain and NEAFL Development Coach, Alicia Eva, who described her scholarship experiences over the past year as incredible, filled with learnings, new experiences and a new mentor in Bombers’ senior coach, John Worsfold.
Through the 2020 scholarship Grant will be upskilling through professional development opportunities including the AFL Coaches Association’s Next Coach Program, and a mentorship from current Collingwood Football Club senior coach, Nathan Buckley.
AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw said Grant was a deserving winner.
"Emma shone with her unique application this year which displayed her passion, commitment to coaching, clear ambition and thirst for knowledge. And it wasn’t easy for our Advisory Board with applications from seven seriously impressive women with coaching aspirations,” Brayshaw said.
“Emma made an impressive application for the scholarship last year, and over the last year we have supported her development, and the development of the other 2019 scholarship applicants, by providing them all with an experienced AFL assistant coach to be their ‘sponsor’.
"It’s wonderful to see how Emma has continued to develop over the last year and we are thrilled to be in a position to provide Emma with these scholarship opportunities including an incredible mentor in Nathan Buckley, and during these uncertain times are lucky to have the support of Morry Wroby and Lucky Chicken Eggs.”
Morry Wroby, CEO Lucky Chicken Eggs added to Brayshaw's sentiments around Grant’s recognition.
"Congratulations to Emma on her fantastic application and winning the 2020 scholarship. Lucky Chicken Eggs is proud to play a role in shining a light on AFL coaching as a career for women through this Coaching Pathway Scholarship. It’s important to keep supporting ambitions of women, like we did with Alicia last year and now Emma, to take the lead and pave the way for change," said Wroby.
Grant expressed enthusiasm at the opportunities ahead and her gratitude in being named the recipient of the 2020 AFL Coaches Association & Lucky Chicken Eggs Coaching Pathway Scholarship.
“I'm absolutely honoured to receive this scholarship, it is going to have a huge impact on my development as a coach,” she said.
“To be given the opportunities like taking part in the Next Coach Program and have a mentorship from Nathan Buckley is going to be invaluable. You can't put a price on the opportunities and experiences ahead so I am just super excited to take each opportunity as they come and then equally as important will be to then pass on what I learn to others.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my development as a coach and as a person. I believe it will fast-track my development and will upskill and help build networks that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to have.
“I would like to inspire other females to aspire to coach at the highest level possible and thank the AFLCA and Lucky Chicken Eggs for this opportunity,” Grant said.
As part of Emma’s application, she wrote a coaching journal entry to herself from 2025 reflecting on all her achievements 2020-2025.
In this note she talked about Collingwood Football Club senior coach, Nathan Buckley being her mentor. In true Buckley style, when asked to assist Grant as part of her scholarship win, he immediately agreed.
“I’ve agreed to “mentor” Emma primarily because I like to help people grow and evolve towards their higher purpose in life and because I have witnessed and appreciated her professional attitude as an AFLW player at Collingwood,” he said.
“Any relationship like this can’t be effective if forced... I’m happy to be a sounding board and lend an ear for Emma as she continues on her journey. She will make her own way and if I can assist her in any way along that path I will.”