Dani Laidley has officially put her name in the mix for a West Coast homecoming, declaring an interest in the club’s vacant AFLW senior coaching role.
The 56-year-old was first linked with the Eagles gig after Michael Prior quit with two weeks left in the campaign.
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But in a surprise twist Laidley revealed she could have already been working in the competition for a Melbourne-based club this year, and may yet chase a top job in Victoria.
After an AFL playing career with the Eagles and North Melbourne, where she won the 1996 premiership, Laidley coached the Kangaroos for six years and took the team to a preliminary final in 2007.
She spent time at Port Adelaide and St Kilda before her last stint in the AFL with Carlton ended in 2015.
Dani Laidley is ready to step up her involvement in the AFLW. Credit: Getty
A return to footy via the AFLW could now be on the cards, saying it is “true” that she wants to return to coaching.
“It’s been a passion of mine and I’ve sort of been ready for about 12 months,” Laidley told SEN radio.
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A documentary released this year on the former footballer’s transition got in the way of her football ambitions.
“Even actually for this AFLW season, I was asked to do a coaching role at one of the Melbourne teams,” she said.
“But I couldn’t because I was contracted for the doco.
“People have connected the dots, West Coast have got a position available and yes, I want to coach again.”
Laidley has already been involved in Perth’s footy scene when she became a WAFL pride round ambassador earlier this year.
She was invited to speak to the Eagles’ AFLW side by assistant coach Hamish Brayshaw, a former AFL player, ahead of this week’s pride week in the elite league.
It was her first time back in the fold at West Coast since she left the club for North Melbourne in 1992.
Pictured here with then AFL boss Gillon McLachlan in 2022, Dani Laidley has been welcomed back into the AFL fold in recent years. Credit: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos via Getty Images
“But let’s not put the cart before the horse. It’s very easy to, as I say, connect those dots,” Laidley said.
“West Coast is the only club at the moment that don’t have a coach for their women’s team.
“There may be some other clubs in Melbourne as well who make a decision not to go with their coach.
“It sounds like a good fit. But there could be some other things happening down the track. I’m just being prepared for any scenario.”
West Coast on Thursday announced Laidley’s former Eagles teammate Don Pyke as the club’s new chief executive.
Pyke, who coached Adelaide to the 2017 AFL grand final, has given up an assistant coaching role at the Sydney Swans for the administration position.
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