The Suns have their academy in Darwin and their CEO Mark Evans said they were rapt to play in the top end in Sir Doug Nicholls Round, while the Hawks will be looking to make a good impression after revelations that one of the Territory’s favourite sons Cyril Rioli has become estranged from the club.
Meanwhile, Lauren Arnell has signed on as Port Adelaide’s inaugural AFLW coach – becoming the first retired AFLW player to take on a top AFLW coaching role. Arnell was Carlton’s inaugural captain in 2017 before heading to Brisbane, where she retired as a premiership player in 2021.
“It is a privilege to be appointed Port Adelaide’s inaugural AFLW coach and an opportunity I am very much looking forward to,” Arnell, a three-time All-Australian, said.
“The history of success at Port Adelaide and the expectations that come with this are not lost on me. It’s what has drawn me to this club. I want be part of something great, and I can already see we are building something special within our AFLW program.”
The Power will join Hawthorn, Sydney and Essendon as new sides to enter the competition next season – expanding the AFLW to include the full 18 clubs.
Arnell, now 35, has been the head coach of the Brisbane Lions Academy since 2020.
Port Adelaide’s head of AFLW Juliet Haslam said Arnell’s appointment was a significant day in the history of the club.
“Today is a special day for our club as we announce the first AFLW coach in Port Adelaide’s remarkable 152-year history,” Haslam said.
“The name Lauren Arnell will forever sit on our club’s honour board as our first ever AFLW coach, a recognition and achievement that cannot be underestimated.
“Lauren will continue the proud legacy of women playing an important role in driving our club forward.”
Elsewhere, Essendon defender Jayden Laverde will remain at the club for at least another three years, having inked a new deal. Laverde has played 73 games since being taken in the 2014 national draft.
“I’m thrilled to remain at the Bombers for a further three years. I love this football club and I’m so grateful for the faith they’ve shown in me over many years,” he said.
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