Hawthorn extends the family
For the first time in the club’s history Hawthorn will officially field both a men’s and women’s side with the announcement that the Box Hill Hawk’s VFLW side has been re-licensed and will be now known as Hawthorn.
The Hawthorn VFLW program will be fully integrated within the club and provides a clear talent pathway for women in the eastern region.
Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves said this was a terrific step forward for the club in the development of its women’s program and Hawthorn’s commitment to growing female participation in the game.
“Today’s announcement cements our commitment to women’s football as we continue to develop the game by providing equal opportunities and elite talent pathways,” Reeves said.
“Missing out on a AFLW licence earlier this year was really disappointing, however the announcement of Hawthorn’s first official VFL women’s team highlights how serious and passionate we are about women’s football and making sure every player, male or female, has equal opportunity to succeed.
“The Hawthorn VFLW side is our elite level women’s side and will have access to the same training and support services as our men’s team.
“We will work to ensure Hawthorn is the benchmark of the VFLW competition and the number one destination for young women with the dream of being drafted into the AFLW competition.
“Our side will be led by the extremely capable Patrick Hill who did a terrific job of building the Box Hill VFLW team from the ground up this year.
“While the fixture is yet to be released we expect our VFLW team to play before the Box Hill men’s team on most occasions, providing Hawthorn fans a terrific opportunity to support both sides each week.
“The team will travel to Darwin in 2018 to come up against the NT Thunder while the club also hopes to schedule a curtain raiser match between Hawthorn and Essendon’s VFLW teams when the two clubs meet at the MCG in Round 7.
“While we are incredibly excited to bring our VFLW side under the Hawthorn umbrella the club’s affiliation with Box Hill remains strong as ever. Our AFL, VFLW and Box Hill VFL side are all equally important parts of our family and we take a one club, three teams approach to everything we do.”
Hawthorn are currently in the process of finalising their list for the 2018 VFLW season, with player signings to be communicated to fans over the coming weeks.
Hawthorn fans will be able to purchase a VFLW membership from today which will go towards supporting the team and expanding its community support through talent pathways.
The club will also continue to lobby the AFL for a clear timeline on the Hawk’s admission into the AFLW competition.