BROOKE Brown says she is excited to be returning to a region she is passionate about as she takes on the new role of regional talent operations lead with the Bendigo Pioneers.
While Brown has had a strong involvement with Bendigo's NAB League arch rivals, the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, for a decade, the Pioneers' region is close to her heart.
"I'm a Donald girl born and bred... I played netball in the North Central league and fell in love with football that way," Brown said this week.
"My brothers are heavily involved with football. The whole reason that I got involved in football was because I was at a game where my older brother Lee was playing for Waubra and I was taking his stats in the car just for something to do.
"The club found out I did that and I ended up doing stats for Waubra for two years and then moved on to the North Ballarat Rebels for a couple of years to do stats before heading overseas to teach in London.
"Before I went overseas I was teaching at Wedderburn, living out of Bendigo and working on a weekend with the Rebels in Ballarat, so there was a fair few kms in the car so I could stay involved with footy."
After returning from her London stint Brown spent 10 years as, firstly, team manager and then welfare manager with the Rebels before gaining employment in 2018 with the AFL as the player pathways Victorian welfare manager and the Vic Country welfare manager.
"The role with the AFL was made redundant, but I was offered the opportunity to head to the Bendigo Pioneers, which I'm super excited about because it's a region I'm from and I'm passionate about," Brown said.
"And I'm certainly passionate about developing young men and women both on and off the field."
I'm certainly passionate about developing young men and women both on and off the fieldBrooke Brown
Brown's appointment at the Pioneers follows the AFL's new organisational model for NAB League clubs.
The Pioneers' operational model will feature Brown in the role of regional talent operations lead and Damian Truslove, who joined the club in October last year, as the talent pathways coach.
For the first time, NAB League talent pathway coaches will be full-time positions and work across both the girls and boys programs to ensure the same opportunities for both genders.
"The AFL Talent Pathway Programs have been remodelled to further align and simplify the talent pathway calendar, to provide boys' and girls' programs with the same opportunities for elite development, while also increasing their connection to community football," the AFL said in a statement.
Brown will start in the role November 1.
Outgoing Pioneers' talent manager Steve Sharp said he had relished the experience of being involved in the program since 2015.
"I've really enjoyed working with all the players and their families in the program over the past five years. I feel really privileged to have had the opportunity to work with a great group of boys and girls," Sharp said.
"The AFL has made some changes and we wish Brooke all the best."
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