Archer, Cable, Carey, Harvey, Dench - all names that are synonymous with North Melbourne Football Club.
Despite crossing generations, they all have one thing in common, as members of the North Melbourne Past Players Association.
With North legend Anthony Stevens now president of the association, change is being implemented from top to bottom, with player welfare sky-rocketing to the top of the priorities list.
Stevens says the focus on welfare doesn’t only come from a mental-health point of view, but the association also wants to provide day-to-day support for any past player who needs it.
“The players and officials that came before us put so much time, love and effort into this football club, so we want to assist if required,” Stevens said.
“They helped form the fabric of what our football club is today.
“We’re really working hard to engage our existing past players to understand how they’re all travelling … what’s going on with the pandemic is really the heat of the issue.”
The association is open to any player to have featured at North Melbourne, and Stevens is looking to engage as many Shinboners as possible by raising awareness of the work they do.
“The biggest thing is that players have thought it’s just an old group thing where players go and play golf or bowls,” Stevens told North Media.
“Personnel changes mean you don’t have the contacts you might’ve once had … a lot of past players distance themselves from the club because they don’t want to be one of those old boys who just hangs around sticking their nose in.
“We’re trying to put the systems and processes in place, whether it’s from a ticketing point-of-view or an events point-of-view to get more players involved. We want to work with the football club to bring players back.”
The Past Players Association also allows former players to engage with the club in an ambassadorial role, an opportunity which Stevens says can be mutually beneficial to both player and club.
“Having any sort of ambassadorial role through the Past Players Association is a massive advantage to all the members … we really want to promote that inclusivity,” he said.
“We’re trying to improve accessibility to the club through ticketing, and it’s getting to the point where players can come to training and just have somewhere to connect to the club without having to go through reception.
“We believe former players are our best ambassadors. If they have some type of engagement and understanding with the footy club and the direction it’s going in then that can only have positive outcomes … it puts a fantastic message out to the fans about our direction.“
The way the Past Players Association is interacting with the club’s former players is changing. Stevens’ passion about how former players are engaged with is infectious.
Ensuring former players are properly treated all falls under what it means to be a Shinboner, according to Stevens.
“We really want to put that Shinboner Spirit we always talk about into our actions,” he said.
“People outside the club always like to talk about what the Shinboner Spirit actually is. We’re taking that to another level now.”
With one of North’s greatest Shinboners in leading the charge, it seems inevitable that a new level will be reached.
The club is seeking past players, who have represented North Melbourne at any level, to be part of the association.
If you are a past player, or know someone that would like to be part of the Association, please fill in the form below and a representative from the club will be in touch with further information.
Having trouble viewing the form? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER YOUR DETAILS