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Christmas message from Ben Buckley

Ben Buckley - Chairman, NMFC  December 20, 2017 11:12 AM

On behalf of everyone at North Melbourne, I’d like to wish all of our wonderful members a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and want to sincerely thank you all for your ongoing support and commitment.

As 2018 approaches, it’s hard not to feel excited about our future with such a young and talented group of players ready to create their very own path and take our club forward.

We may have one of the youngest lists in the competition, but we also have a tremendous crop of experienced leaders and a list that will develop and grow together to lead us back up the ladder - where we belong.

After 11 players made their debuts last season, there is an enormous amount of upside to come. Players such as Mason Wood, Sam Wright, Ben Jacobs, Jack Ziebell, Paul Ahern, Jamie Macmillan, Mitch Hibberd, Jarrad Waite and Marley Williams, are all poised to return after struggles with injury, and will only make us stronger next season.

At the draft, we took our highest pick since 2006 at No.4 and snared Luke Davies-Uniacke – a player many experts said could go No.1.

We have a number of elite players that perhaps don’t get the recognition they deserve in Shaun Higgins, Ben Cunnington, Robbie Tarrant, Todd Goldstein and Ben Brown.

I eagerly anticipate the next stage of Jy Simpkin’s career and the beginning of Paul Ahern’s – a former pick No.7. I’m looking forward to seeing Taylor Garner, Luke McDonald, Kayne Turner and Braydon Preuss all take the next step in their football journeys.

With Brad Scott at the helm, we have great stability and the chance to build something special. When Brad first took over in 2010, he defied the odds and guided us to four finals series, including two preliminaries, despite a tough period for clubs which involved compromised drafts and concessions for the AFL’s expansion clubs. He is much loved by the players and very highly regarded and we are fortunate to have him in charge of our side.

In 2018, we won’t put a ceiling on expectations in such a tightly contested competition. You only have to look at last season to see we were not far off the mark. We showed we can compete with, and beat, the best sides with our win over grand-finalist Adelaide in Hobart a prime example.

Our culture is second to none and we are growing our club like never before, underpinned by great stability.

The formation of our very own VFL side is almost complete and gives us full control over the development of our younger players.

In 2019 we will make history when our AFLW side runs out for the very first time. Securing a licence was a massive achievement and we have been trailblazers in women’s football after partnering with the Melbourne University Women’s Football Club in 2010. This licence will dramatically increase our ability to engage and develop female athletes and supporters, and will help us diversify and grow our footprint, not only in North Melbourne but also in Tasmania and Wyndham.

To continue to provide state-of-the-art training facilities to all our players and staff, we will undergo a multi-million-dollar expansion of our Arden Street home. We’ll be adding new change rooms and facilities and will ensure the oval can host games once again by adding coach’s boxes, interchange benches, proper lighting and a scoreboard.

On a much larger scale, a massive ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity awaits. Our local precinct, comprising 56 hectares, is about to be transformed with tens of thousands of new residents, commercial developments and the new North Melbourne underground station just across the road.

The opportunities for us are significant.

Our master plan to develop a world-class sports and recreation hub would create significant benefits for the local community with associated access for the club, similar to the existing model with our facility. It would also be a significant drawcard for our players, providing us with the largest and most accessible sports facility this close to the city. While other clubs are landlocked, and have been forced to relocate far away from their spiritual homes, we have the chance to stay in our heartland and grow substantially.

Our vision is grand and full of promise.

I hope you will continue to support us in the years to come and help us provide our young players with everything they need to be successful.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful support we continue to receive from our longest standing and major partner, Mazda. Our commercial relationship is one of the strongest and longest in the AFL.

Spirit of Tasmania continues to be the sole match day partner for all games played in Hobart as well as the coaches’ apparel sponsor.

Canterbury, our apparel partner, and Hello Solar, our shorts partner, are also committed to our great club.

We also received fantastic support from Chemist Warehouse, Powershop, Anytime Fitness, ASG, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, McDonalds, Blundstone, PFD, Coach House Dairy, Interactive, Workwear Group, Rockpool Group, Remedy Kombucha, City of Hobart, Beiersdorf and Gatorade.

I look forward to seeing in the New Year.

Go Roos,


Ben Buckley