Bulldogs sack AFLW coach Burke after finishing last

Nathan Burke, Former Senior Coach of the Western Bulldogs looks on during the 2023 AFLW Round 06 Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

The Western Bulldogs have sacked AFLW coach Nathan Burke following a disastrous one-win season.

Burke has paid the price for the Bulldogs, a foundation club, finishing on the bottom of the ladder as expansion teams Essendon and Sydney overtook them to play finals.

"He became our first full-time coach after leading the team to finals at the end of 2022, and has developed strong relationships with his staff and players during his tenure," Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said.

"After careful consideration, the club has decided to move in a different direction heading into next season, as we strive for sustained success in all aspects of our women's football program."

The former St Kilda champion was not helped by a lengthy and persistent injury list but failed to use that as an excuse.

"We're not fit enough. I said that to the girls in there, we're not going to make excuses over that, because I think there are probably things outside of injuries, within our control, that would make us fitter," Burke said after the round-five defeat to the Saints.

"Just understanding the level of professionalism required now - skipping an ice bath or not eating properly, that doesn't cut it anymore."

The Bulldogs' only win of the season came in round nine when they defeated 17th-placed West Coast by eight points.

Burke was appointed coach ahead of the 2020 AFLW season, leading the club for five campaigns, and made an elimination final last year.

The 53-year-old took over from Paul Groves, who led the club to the 2018 AFLW premiership.

"I thank the Western Bulldogs for allowing me to live my purpose of making a difference in other people's lives - if I did that, then I walk away content," Burke said.

"I also want to thank the people of the west for embracing me as part of your club. I hope success is just around the corner for you." The Bulldogs will consider making more changes to the women's football program in coming weeks and begin a process to select the next coach.