Sydney Swans AFLW coach Scott Gowans has been crowned AFL Coaches Association AFLW Senior Coach of the Year, sharing the award with Brisbane Lions Senior Coach Craig Starcevich.

Gowans put together the club’s inaugural side in a matter of weeks but wouldn’t taste victory until his second season with the club. List changes and rapid improvements were made, which saw Gowans exceed expectations, leading the club to their first AFLW victory and their first ever finals campaign in 2023.

Deemed to be the best performed senior coach throughout the 2023 AFLW Season, up to and including the preliminary final, Gowans and Starcevich were voted winners, having regard for their current season's performance, available resources, player talent and team management.

Gowans admits he was humbled by the recognition from his peers.

“It’s something I’ll probably reflect on a little later, but I’m very proud to win this award. I’m well aware it’s the result of being able to work with great people who make my job a lot easier,” said Gowans.

 “Time has been key to success, time to plan and prepare. In my case, I had a number of weeks off where I couldn’t work so I was able to sit, think and strategize. It allowed me to come back better and ready to go. Time is a marvellous thing. Obviously too, the training habits of the players, having time to prepare and have a proper pre-season really helped us.”

“This award wouldn’t have been possible without my support network - my wife Jodie, the club, Kate (Mahony) and Tom (Harley), the coaching staff and of course the players.”

AFL Coaches Association CEO, Alistair Nicholson, congratulated Starcevich & Gowans on their seasons.

“What a season for both Craig and Scott and wonderful recognition for their coaching performances.”

“Craig has done it again, another Grand Final appearance and another AFLW Senior Coach of the Year Award, his third. We’ve all seen Craig bring his team together season after season to improve, his consistency at the highest level is to be admired,” said Nicholson.

“And Scott, what a remarkable coaching performance to guide his team into the finals after a winless first season in the competition and a health issue in the preseason. His determination to get well and improve himself has evidently flowed through the club.

“I applaud Craig, Scott and their coaching teams for their seasons and being recognised by their peers with this Award.”