• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE6159

Searle, Peta

  • Occupation Australian Rules Football Player, Coach, Mentor, Teacher


Peta Searle was the first female Australian Football League (AFL) coach, appointed development coach for the St Kilda Football Club in 2004. She was also the first Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) coach to lead a team to five consecutive premiership wins.


Over twenty years Peta Searle has made a remarkable contribution to the male-dominated Australian Football League (AFL).

Peta herself had a very successful 10-year playing career, winning five premierships and being awarded three All Australian guernseys.

In 1996 Peta began teaching physical education at Brighton Secondary College, first at the junior campus, followed by the senior campus ten years later. She remained at Brighton until 2014.

Peta became the head coach of the Victorian Women’s Football League club, the Darebin Falcons, in 2006 and led them to five consecutive premierships.

In addition, Peta was the first head coach of the AFL Victoria Academy and the first female to coach in the Victorian Football League (VFL). In 2011, she was named Gary Ayres’ senior assistant coach for the VFL’s Port Melbourne Football Club.

She was appointed head coach of the Western Bulldogs women’s team for the AFL’s first exhibition match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), in July 2013.

In 2014 Peta made history by becoming the first female coach of an AFL team, appointed to the position of development coach for the St Kilda Football Club.

Peta launched the Peta Searle Academy in 2016; a football program aimed at women and girls to develop their craft.



  • 2017 - 2017

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women