'Strong vision': Former Saints star to coach club's AFLW team

ST KILDA has appointed former player Nick Dal Santo as its new AFLW coach.

The Saints had parted ways with inaugural coach Peta Searle after two AFLW seasons.

Dal Santo has been involved in the club's Next Generation Academy program.

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He played 260 games for the club between 2002 and 2013, adding a further 62 at North Melbourne before retiring at the end of 2016.

"During his time as a player, and now more recently as coach of our NGA, Nick has impressed us with his leadership and ability to motivate and drive his athletes," St Kilda CEO Matt Finnis said

"At every stage of the selection process, he gave us great confidence that he was the one to take us forward.

"Nick knows what it takes to be part of a high-performing team and will be instrumental in driving the standards and professionalism of our AFLW program. 

"He has a strong vision for where he wants to take the program over the coming years, and we look forward to welcoming Nick, Julie, Jude, Aston and Pia back to RSEA Park on a more permanent basis."

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The club confirmed Dal Santo will continue to work as head coach of the NGA and as a club ambassador.

Searle's departure and Dal Santo's appointment means all 14 current AFLW coaches are men.

Out of 26 people to have been appointed to the role (including Dal Santo) over six seasons, just three – Bec Goddard, Michelle Cowan and Searle – have been women.

Goddard is all but assured of Hawthorn's head W role once the club joins the AFLW.

The numbers are much more balanced in administration, with six women currently holding the role of head of football.