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AFLW: Dilena speech

North Melbourne has ushered in a new era at Arden Street, officially launching its AFLW side.

Club managing director and CEO, Carl Dilena, told players and guests at the State Library of Victoria that the establishment of the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos marked a historic moment.

“What an exciting time it is. It’s only taken 150 years but I can’t think of any better way to celebrate our 150th anniversary as a club than to launch a new team into the AFLW competition,” Dilena said.

“As everyone in the room would know, we’ve worked incredibly hard to establish a genuine and meaningful connection with women’s sport over a long period of time.

“Back in 2010 we formed a partnership with Melbourne University to help support the development of women’s football. This was well before AFLW was on the radar and our efforts were simply directed at supporting women and their development.

“We didn’t realise at the time that we would eventually have the opportunity to field our own team. But here we are, and isn’t it fantastic?”

Dilena praised the amount of work North staff had put into building the team, and said it’s now up to the players to perform.

“A massive amount of work has gone into building our first list and creating an environment for our female players to shine. I’d like to thank everyone who helped bring this together,” he added.

“Even AFL Players such as Ben Brown, Jamie Macmillan, Taylor Garner and Luke McDonald have invested their spare time to help shape our AFLW list, while their teammates have consciously created an inclusive club where everyone belongs and is treated the same.

“To the players in the room, you will soon have the opportunity to pull on the royal blue and white stripes and represent our great club.

“You are in a unique position as our first women’s side and you will all be etched into the history books, adding pages to a story that began 150-years ago.

“We are all tremendously proud of you and cannot wait for the season to start.

“Your time is now, so make the most of it and know we are all behind you.”