Heidi Thompson to head up Thunder Women’s Academy and VFL W side

Heidi Thompson appointed to NT Thunder and AFLNT

AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) and the NT Thunder Football Club are delighted to welcome Heidi Thompson to the team in the dual position of NT Thunder Women’s Academy Manager and VFL Women’s Head Coach.

Thompson has vast knowledge in the sporting sector as a coach and administrator, with experience spanning over the past seven years.

Since October 2016 she has been the Brisbane Lions Women’s Academy Head Coach, overseeing the under 18 squad which was undefeated during her two years in charge and also experienced the joy of having players drafted to the senior AFLW team.

In August this year, Thompson was one of six women awarded a position in the inaugural AFL Women’s National Coaching Academy. As part of the program, she is completing her Level 3 AFL coaching accreditation.

She has also been a high school health and physical education teacher since 2004 and has been at the same Brisbane-based school since 2011, appointed the Year 11 and 12 Coordinator in 2017 and 2018.

A recently retired player, Thompson had a successful eight-year career in the QWAFL playing with Sherwood, Yeronga and Wilston Grange until she retired at the end of the 2017 season.

No stranger to accolades, she is familiar with what it takes to play representative footy, having been selected for the QWAFL Team of the Year and the QLD Sunfire team.

With keen interests in leadership programs and personal development, Thompson prides herself on empowering young athletes to grow and develop.

AFLNT Manager of Talent and Pathways Wally Gallio said what impressed him most about Thompson was her passion for building positive relationships and wanting to challenge herself and those around her to achieve.

“We had some great applicants apply for the two roles, and we started to look at it as a dual position, whereby the person we appointed could help establish a clear pathway for our talented female players to follow from juniors through to seniors.

“Of the applicants, Heidi’s experience and desire to better herself and our programs stood out.

“She has a proven track record of success and will bring a fresh look to the Academy program and a wealth of program planning and experience to the Talent and Pathways team.

“It’s exciting times for our young up and coming Territory talent,” Gallio said.

NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges said he looked forward to working closely with Thompson.

“Heidi is a fantastic acquisition for the NT Thunder programs and will work alongside Darren Reeves, Jason Roe, Wally Gallio and myself. Her ability and experience in setting up and driving elite standards in a program were proven throughout the interview process.

“Generally, our preference is to source the best local candidate to fill our roles but combining the Academy Manager position with the VFL W Head Coach role meant we needed a specific skillset, which Heidi was the best candidate.

“With the new NT Thunder structure, there will be plenty of opportunities for local coaches and others to develop.

“Heidi has a clear vision and focus for the female talent pathways in the NT and is looking forward to creating opportunities for our talent from Academy level through to senior VFL W and on to the AFL,” Hodges said.

Thompson said she was eager to get started.

“I am excited to continue to develop the female talent pathway to increase the opportunity for Territory players to play at the highest level. And I feel like the time is right to pursue a new challenge.

“I also believe that my recent experiences with the Under 18s Brisbane Lions Academy and working with the most talented youth girls in Queensland has set me up well for this unique role in the NT.

“I am very much looking forward to working with everyone involved in the NT Thunder program and getting stuck into 2019,” she said.

Thompson will start in Darwin on Monday 28 January. The VFL W, Under 18 and Under 16 women’s squads will be announced in late January and training will commence in early February.

Heidi Thompson

DOB 24/04/1981

Playing career:
2010 – 2017 QWAFL with Sherwood, Yeronga and Wilston Grange
2016 Wilston Grange captain
QWAFL Team of the Year
QLD Sunfire team representative player

Coaching career:
2017 – Present Brisbane Lions Youth Girls Academy Head Coach
2017 Brisbane Lions Academy Scholarship Recipient
2017 AFLQ Assistant Talent Coach of the Year
2017 Under 18 AFLW State of Origin Allies team assistant coach
2016 – 2018 QLD School Sport Under 15 Girls team trainer/assistant coach
2015 – Present AFLW Under 18 QLD Women’s team assistant coach
2012 – Present Metropolitan West Under 16 Girls AFL team Head Coach