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AFL appoints Laura Kane as new football boss

Laura Kane’s rise to become the AFL’s most senior football official is being hailed as a significant moment for women in the sport.

Key points:

Kane had been acting executive general manager of football
Her role will cover game-related issues such as umpiring and the tribunal
Kane’s appointment has been welcomed by the AFL community

Kane, who had been the AFL’s acting executive general manager of football, was appointed to the role on a full-time basis on Monday.

She will become one of the most senior deputies of incoming AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon.

Kane’s portfolio will cover crucial game-related issues such as umpiring, rules, the AFLW and the tribunal.

She will also oversee areas such as player movement, talent pathways, and mental health and wellbeing.

Kane, a qualified lawyer who represented victims in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, had several senior roles at North Melbourne before she joined the AFL in 2021 as its competition manager.

Essendon AFLW coach Natalie Wood hailed Kane’s full-time appointment as a significant moment for women in the AFL.

“What you’re starting to see is it’s just a real legitimate option for people,” Wood said.

“If you’re good at what you do, there’s opportunity for you on and off the football field.

“We’re starting to see more women in roles and really important roles. It just shows that it’s starting to become a real merit-based process and it doesn’t matter what your gender is.

“Laura’s such a great operator and she’s built such a terrific reputation with the work that she does.”

Dillon said he had been impressed by Kane’s leadership abilities.

“This AFL season has continued to throw up a diverse mix of challenges at our competition and Laura has led the football department team brilliantly in what has been a record year for our game,” Dillon said in a statement.

“Laura’s experience, expertise, temperament and resilience, paired with building a team of additional key football talent, is the right mix to lead the football department.”

Josh Mahoney has joined Kane at league headquarters as the new general manager of football operations.

Mahoney, a Port Adelaide AFL premiership player in 2004, left his position as Essendon general manager of football earlier this month.

As part of his new role at the AFL, Mahoney will report to Kane on issues relating to the AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW.

The AFL are also looking to appoint a new general manager of football performance, who will also report to Kane.





Author: Russell White