North Melbourne receives significant AFLW boost

The North Melbourne-Tasmania Kangaroos’ path to the AFLW has had a massive boost this week, with the Melbourne City Council approving a $10 million redevelopment project of the club’s Arden Street base on Monday.

With the redevelopment looking to be completed at the beginning of 2019, North Melbourne CEO Carl Dilena told afl.com.au that the process is well underway.

The incoming Kangaroos AFLW side will be boosted by improved facilities at Arden Street. Image: North Melbourne Football Club

“We’re just going through some of the detailed design stuff and then we’ll tender and hopefully start construction in the next few months,” Dilena said.

“Our VFL side will get improved lighting for training here at Arden St during the course of the year and then the construction will really be driven by the women’s football – both AFLW and VFLW – to have the facilities and change rooms ready to go for AFLW 2019.”

Much of the battle surrounding women’s sport generally is the challenge of appropriate facilities to host teams.

Challenges still exist of course, but change does not happen overnight and more is being done to meet the call, as evidenced by this announcement.

Other features of the redevelopment include two team change rooms, umpires change rooms, expanded warm-up areas, coach’s boxes, a media box, medical facilities as well as office space for the club’s new AFLW and VFL staff.

The club was awarded a provisional AFLW licence in 2016, but was then announced as part of the AFLW 2019 expansion in September 2017. But North Melbourne have been building to a women’s side over the last few years, with a partnership with VFLW club Melbourne University key factor in that.

Adding to that in having the foresight of an alignment with Tasmania, a move that looks to push for long-term sustainability of the women’s game in that state, the club is getting plenty right on its path to AFLW.

Another positive development came on Wednesday, with the Hobart Mercury reporting the Tasmanian Labor Party has committed $300,000 for further development of North Hobart Oval, should they win the upcoming state election, with talks also ongoing on changing room upgrades for the ground as well.

The Tasmania Kangaroos will play games out of Melbourne, Hobart and Launceston’s UTas Stadium.

This news follows comments this past weekend from Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann on the Fox Footy’s coverage of the Brisbane-Western Bulldogs that the Lions are currently seeking funding from the Queensland government for a new boutique stadium for both their men’s and women’s sides.

“We’ve been working with the government, and they’ve been good and positive with women’s sport, we’ve got a submission in there at the moment with the state government, and we’re hopefully of getting something in the state budget this May.,” Swann said.

“It’d be a stadium for the girls to play in but also a home base for both the men’s and women’s team.

“It’d be great if we can get that funding through.”

These developments will be crucial as the AFLW expands next year, which should make for a longer season, having more options to host games has to be a priority for the league.