North Melbourne AFL Women’s coach Scott Gowans has hit back at those suggesting his team went against the spirit of the game in their recruiting methods.
The Roos have signed a number of big names from other clubs including reigning AFLW Best and Fairest Emma Kearney from the Western Bulldogs, original Collingwood marquee duo Emma King and Moana Hope and Lions midfielder Kaitlyn Ashmore.
Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich wasn’t particularly pleased with how North went about taking Ashmore from his club, as well as three other quality players.
“There’s a little bit there about respecting each others’ space and not necessarily going in and pillaging each others’ players and doing it with some ounce of integrity,” he told Grandstand AFL.
“It is the spirit of how we build this competition. I’m not sure North have been super with it to be honest.”
Gowans said a lot of the players approached him and the club rather than the other way around.
“I can’t really control what Craig thinks, but I will say that he’s very passionate about women’s footy and done an amazing job, but from my perspective we haven’t broken any rules,” he told SEN’s The Sporting Capital.
“We don’t think we acted out of the spirit of the game, we’ve had girls actually approach us because what happens in the female space is that it’s still a very small industry and players tend to talk amongst themselves so what that did was come February or March is they wanted to come to our club.
“So I don’t think Craig’s comments are really here or there for me or the club, it’s more we know what we’ve done and we’re pretty happy where we’re are.”
“If you break down the 17 players that we got, they all have an existing relationship with me either through Diamond Creek and Carlton or had a relationship with Melbourne University,” he said.
“There’s only actually four players out of the 17 that didn’t have any relationship with us.”
North Melbourne along with Geelong will join AFLW in 2019, with St Kilda, Richmond, West Coast and Gold Coast set to enter in 2020.
How the AFL works out the signing period for the next four teams remains one of the big issues going forward.
Originally published on SEN.com.au