- Tamara Hyett new head coach of AFLW Western Bulldogs
- Defeated Dani Laidley for the vacant Whitten Oval seat
- Western Bulldogs finished with a wooden spoon in 2023
The Western Bulldogs have confirmed Tamara Hyett as their new AFLW coach this season, after former North Melbourne mentor Dani Laidley was overlooked in the final stages of their search.
Hyett, who coached the Sandringham Dragons in the Coates Talent League Girls competition and was a senior assistant coach at Melbourne in 2022, got the nod for her first senior role.
She will be the fifth woman to lead a team next season.
As well as Laidley, she was also preferred to inaugural premiership coach Paul Groves, who had thrown his hat in the ring to return to the AFLW after leaving the job in 2019.
Laidley confirmed he wanted to return to coaching and showed interest in the vacant West Coast role in November.
“It’s been a passion of mine and I’ve been ready for about 12 months and even for this AFLW season, I was asked to play a coaching role with one of the Melbourne teams,” she told SEN in November.
The Western Bulldogs have secured former professional Tamara Hyett as their new AFLW coach ahead of the 2024 season.
Hyett beat the likes of Dani Laidley (pictured) and inaugural premiership coach Paul Groves for the role.
‘But I couldn’t because they hired me for it (documentary Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes).
“People have connected the dots, West Coast has a spot available and yes, I want to get back into coaching.”
A return to the top flight will have to wait for the former Kangaroos senior player, who has not held a position at any club since leaving her assistant role at Carlton in 2015.
A former professional golfer, Hyett came to football late and played her first VFLW match for the St Kilda Sharks aged 35 before becoming an assistant coach at the club.
She was brought to Melbourne ahead of the 2021 season to work as a midfield development coach before taking on the role responsible for the backline.
The Demons and Hyett parted ways at the end of 2023.
Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said Hyett had impressed the club with his “clear articulation of his coaching philosophy” during the interview process.
“We are very excited to have someone of Tamara’s caliber join our club,” Bains said.
In November, Laidley confirmed he wanted to return to coaching and showed interest in the vacant West Coast role.
‘Her unique combination of experience in both elite women’s football and elite women’s football lends itself to Tamara building a high performance culture that develops and grows the exciting young players on our roster.
“We are delighted to make this appointment to our AFLW program as we strive for consistent performance and sustained success on the field.”
Hyett said she was extremely proud to take on the role of the self-described “western suburbs girl.”
“It’s a real proud moment. Driving here I was thinking about the last six years and being a girl from the western suburbs, I’m extremely proud,” she said.
“This is a foundation club that supported women’s football even before the AFLW… It’s not lost on me how special it is.
‘There’s some really exciting talent here and it’s also really refreshing. “I’m very excited about the current group.”
The Bulldogs are also searching for a head of women’s football to oversee the program after an extensive review of the club’s football department, which also led to the appointment of Matthew Egan as general manager of football operations.
Previous AFLW coach, St Kilda great Nathan Burke, was sacked after the Bulldogs’ disappointing 1-9 campaign in 2023, which ended with the wooden spoon and a series of player departures, including former selection number one Gabby Newton to Fremantle.