Ms Peta Searle

Photo of Ms Peta Searle 2017

When it comes to achieving gender equality, both on and off the field, Peta is recognised as a strong role model challenging and transforming perceptions of women and leaders in sport.

Over 20 years, Peta has made an extraordinary contribution to Australian Rules football, which up until very recently has been a male-dominated sport.

Peta's accolades include coaching VWFL side Darebin Falcons to 5 successive premierships

Peta’s coaching career has been marked with many firsts. In 2004, Peta was appointed development coach for the St Kilda Football Club, becoming the first female coach in the Australian Football League (AFL). She was the first Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) to coach a team to (Darebin Falcons) to 5 consecutive premiership final wins.

Peta was the first head coach of the AFL Victoria Academy and the first female to coach in the Victorian Football League (VFL). She was also assistant coach to Gary Ayers and played a key role in Port Melbourne’s 2012 VFL win. Peta was also Head Coach for the Western Bulldogs Women’s team in the AFL’s first exhibition match.

‘I think when you are coaching, you’re coaching people - that’s what is important’

Throughout her career, Peta has challenged the notion that male sports require male coaches and leaders. Her commitment and determination over a long period of time has been inspirational within both men’s and women’s football across Victoria. She has bridged community and elite sports and continues to champion girls and women at all levels of the game.

Passionate about empowering women in the fields of sport and leadership

Peta promotes the benefits of involvement in sport, particularly football, to a wide range of audiences. As a speaker at schools and events, Peta provides thought-provoking insights into the benefits of coaching, teamwork and leadership. Her career and legacy will inspire generations of future women in sport.

As a coach, her role has not only been to encourage women to play a traditionally male sport, but for all women to believe that they can achieve their goals in all fields of life.

Find out more about the Victorian Honour Roll of Women program.