Laura Kane hailed as new AFL football boss

The AFL's new executive general manager of football, Laura Kane.

The AFL's new executive general manager of football, Laura Kane. Photo: AAP

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.

Kane, who had been the AFL’s interim football boss since Brad Scott left the role last year to coach Essendon, was officially unveiled after her full-time appointment to the role on Monday.

Her title as executive general manager of football means 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 abuse, had several senior roles at North Melbourne before she joined the AFL in September 2021 as its competition manager.

Hawthorn women’s coach Bec Goddard and Essendon counterpart 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 has 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.”

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

Mahoney, a premiership player at Port Adelaide in 2004, joined the Bombers at the end of 2020 but quit as the club’s football boss 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 GM of football performance, who will also report to Kane.


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