AFLW veteran Lauren Arnell captained Carlton in the league’s opening season before moving to Brisbane, where she was also head coach of the Lions Academy since 2020.
She was previously a three-time All-Australian representing the Darebin Falcons Football Club in the VWFL.
“It is a privilege to be appointed Port Adelaide’s inaugural AFLW coach and an opportunity I am very much looking forward to,” Arnell said in a statement today.
“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.”
What a brilliant decision @Larnell13 has a brilliant footy brain and is a brilliant human to match!!
— Shelley Ware (@ShelleyWare) April 12, 2022
Port’s Head of AFLW Juliet Haslam said Arnell’s appointment marked “a special day for our club”.
“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,” she said.
“Lauren will continue the proud legacy of women playing an important role in driving our club forward.”
Club CEO Matthew Richardson had previously stressed Port’s keenness to appoint a woman to the head coaching role, with Haslam saying Arnell’s “skillset and expertise was a standout throughout the recruitment process”.
“Lauren was incredibly impressive throughout the interview process,” she said.
“Her presentation skills are first class and her passion for football and eagerness to develop others was clearly evident.”
Arnell was also behind the AFL’s ‘She Can Coach’ scholarship program in Victoria, a program to foster development of women coaches.
“She has spent ten years working as a teacher whilst also forging a career as a television and radio commentator on AFL and AFLW games across the last two years,” Haslam said.
“Lauren lives for football and loves teaching and developing others. She is an outstanding person, possessing admirable leadership qualities which align with our club’s values.”
She will begin work at the club next month ahead of its inaugural season, which will kick off late this year in the league’s first-ever 18-team competition.
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