Lisa De Vanna slams ‘missed opportunity’ and ‘token’ appointments for All Stars versus Arsenal clash

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Lisa De Vanna has slammed the 'token' appointments and missed opportunity for the All Stars clash with Arsenal.
Lisa De Vanna has slammed the 'token' appointments and missed opportunity for the All Stars clash with Arsenal. Credit: Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images;

Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna has elaborated on her “slap across the face” remark following the appointment of Joe Montemurro as the head coach of the A-League Women All Stars.

The All Stars will play Arsenal Women, a side Montemurro has coached for four years and that currently boasts Matildas stars Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, and Kyra Cooney-Cross in a landmark fixture at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Montemurro’s hiring has seen a mixed reaction, with the former Matildas co-captain tweeting that the hiring was a “slap across the face” for coaches in the league.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

In a rare interview, De Vanna expanded on her comments as she criticised the lack of transparency from the Australian Professional Leagues surrounding the appointment.

“They haven’t told us what the criteria was for selection.”

De Vanna called it a missed opportunity from the APL to showcase the local coaches, arguing the appointment of three women as Montemurro’s staff were token picks and were the biggest “slap in the face”.

Western United’s Kat Smith, Central Coast’s Emily Husband, and Melbourne Victory’s goalkeeping coach Melissa Maizels, who are part of a minority of women in coaching roles in the league, were picked to work as Montemurro’s assistants. Both Smith and Husband had guided their sides to the Finals Series, and are the only female head coaches in the league.

“You have coaches in the league who have been here since day one, coaches who have won multiple championships, [...] it’s a missed opportunity to show off our local coaches against the best in the world”.

De Vanna said the decision to bring in the trio of women in supporting roles was a “have your cake and eat it too” done solely to allow them to bring in Montemurro, and avoid backlash for not having a woman for the top role, while still being able to say they put women in the set-up.

“If I was a female coach, I’d be saying “no thank you’ to that offer”,

“I’d be saying ‘If I’m good enough to coach in this league, I should be good enough to coach the All-Stars team’”.

Husband’s Mariners side had only just returned to the competition, and the first-time manager in the league had led the side to the Semi-Finals, where they narrowly missed out on the Grand Final after a 2-1 aggregate loss to Sydney FC.

De Vanna felt the All Stars gig should be an incentive for good performance from the likes of Husband, suggesting Coach of the Month awards throughout the season, and guiding a side to finals as the criteria going forward.

The 150-time capped Australian supported the All-Stars fixture idea, remarking it was “100 per cent a great thing, anything to promote football in Australia is a good thing”.

“Matches like this have a different buzz to them. They’re a great opportunity to showcase how you do under pressure and against the world’s best”.

The A-League All Stars clashes will take place as part of a double-header on May 24, with English side Newcastle United taking on the Men’s All Stars.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 21-05-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 21 May 202421 May 2024

The PM, the terrorist and the A-list barrister demanding war crimes charges.