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Butland guiding next generation

SUNS TV: Joanne Butland Interview SUNS TV spoke to Winter Series assistant coach Joanne Butland about her AFL journey.
It’s so pleasing to see that I guess I’ve had an impact in their football life and hopefully they get some opportunities now that the pathways are there.
Winter Series assistant coach Joanne Butland

The Winter Series may have come to an end for 2018, but for Gold Coast assistant coach Joanne Butland, the task of developing female talent in North Queensland is ongoing.

Butland is one of Queensland’s longest-serving female coaches and has played a pivotal role in Australian sport.

She began her sporting career as a prominent soccer goalkeeper, progressing as far as playing for the Matildas before realising AFL was her true calling.

Butland made the switch to AFL football in 2003 and quickly rose up the ranks, winning the Cairns league Best and Fairest four out of five years from 2003 to 2008 and earning All-Australian honours four times.

In 2009 she became player-coach of her local club, North Cairns. 

“From my perspective, I was a little bit older coming into the game so I got involved early as a coach and started being a player-coach and just really loved being involved in a new sport,” Butland told goldcoastfc.com.au. 

“I’ve been one that’s been able to watch a game and pick it up pretty easily. 

“I just love the challenges that you’re faced with coaching; being able to move people, have different setups, those challenges were just fantastic and really grew my passion for the sport.”

With her roots in AFL Cairns still running deep to this day, Butland has a strong presence in the development of both male and female talent up north.

“I’ve done a lot of work with Kickstart and the Multicultural programs through AFL Queensland,” she said.

“(With the) high Indigenous population in Cairns and the local areas, that’s enabled us to identify some of the stars we’ve got coming through the system now.”

Butland’s experience and knowledge of the game has been a huge asset for the SUNS Winter Series program.

She’s been a critical member of the coaching panel over the ten weeks and has provided guidance for the squad members from Cairns and Townsville.

“With me only having three girls in Cairns and linking in a little bit with the Townsville girls, it’s been a challenge but a challenge that I’ve accepted and really taken to,” Butland said.

“It’s great to see the professionalism and how well the girls and the staff are treated and respected.

“It’s so pleasing to see that I guess I’ve had an impact in their football life and hopefully they get some opportunities now that the pathways are there.”