When Lieutenant Commander Elisabeth Quinn joined the Navy in 2001, she never imagined the emergence of the AFLW, let alone having the opportunity to juggle her ADF career with working with elite AFLW and VFLW football players at the Richmond Football Club.
In addition to her day duties as Executive Officer of the Defence Force School of Signals, the Maritime Warfare Officer is now undertaking a development program at Richmond Football Club, where she works within the coaching department.
The aim of the program is to professionalise her coaching experience and skills through mentorship, exposure to the practices of professional coaches and elite club resources, while supervised by experienced elite level coaches.
Kate Sheahan is the head of women's football at Richmond Football Club and said Elisabeth Quinn had made quite an impression on the coaching staff at Richmond.
“Liz is a very impressive individual, she works very hard to improve herself and takes every opportunity to learn. We were so impressed with her efforts last year that we created something specific for her.
“Liz puts everything on the line and her professional leadership skills shine through, which means the girls gravitate to her. We look forward to her long-term career in women's footy,” Sheahan said.
Growing up in Perth, Lieutenant Commander Quinn always had a keen interest in footy and has spent the last eleven years involved in the Navy's AFL Association (RANAFA), including eight years as a player, one year as an assistant coach and two years as head coach.
She has also served in HMA Ships Sydney, Newcastle, Ballarat and Parramatta, among others.
“I'm very excited to be part of this program with the Richmond Football Club and they've been really supportive of me and this concept.
“The way the club has worked to ensure this program is a success is a great testament to the innovative and inclusive approach Richmond applies to their football, and I couldn't think of a better club to be affiliated with,” Lieutenant Commander Quinn said, remarking that Navy had also been very supportive.
“This is a fantastic opportunity and I am very fortunate to be extremely well supported, by not just my direct supervisor but also by the ADF's career management and many senior officers.
“I wouldn't be achieving what I am without those who have been supportive and taken an interest in my career, especially my Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Davidson.
“This also couldn't have happened without the support of the ADF Women's Football Manager, Lieutenant Colonel Dani Glatz, under the leadership of Major General Matthew Hall.
“I can't wait for October, when we start on pre-season for the 2020 women's competition,” Lieutenant Commander Quinn said.
Major General Matt Hall, the Chairman of Australian Defence Force Aussie Rules, said the mentorship program would have mutual benefits for the AFLW and the ADF.
“It's a testament to the ADF’s commitment to people development that our personnel are able to excel in their ADF careers and also in an elite sports environment.
“There are many similarities between elite sports and military operations.
“Lieutenant Commander Quinn’s unit will reap the rewards of her new skills learned at Richmond Football Club. Her hard work and dedication in both her careers are a fantastic representation of what we value in our football, and ADF community,” he said.
The Richmond Football Club will have a team in the AFLW for the first time in 2020.