Dear Members and Supporters,
It is hard to believe that we are past the halfway point of the season already. We are poised for a very exciting run home to September and our men’s team has again done us proud despite many challenges. We wish them the best of luck as they push to be a part of the finals action later in the year.
While we have spent time on the road in recent weeks, I know how much it has meant to the entire playing group to have our fans at games around the country. The energy they provide the team is palpable - it drives our players to greater heights. It is true that we win together.
We now look forward to getting everyone back to the MCG as soon as this latest interruption passes. I would like to again thank all of you for your understanding given the altered entry and seating arrangements. Nothing is exactly as we would like it right now, but your patience is greatly appreciated. I can certainly assure you that our consumer team does all it can to get the best possible seating arrangements for our members and they are currently working on a number of initiatives to make up for our lost home game and recognise you for your unbelievable support.
For the Club to break its all-time membership record in 2021 is simply extraordinary. As of today, June 23, we have 103,450 members, surpassing our previous record total of 103,358. I have honestly run out of superlatives to describe our members. I hope that you know what you mean to the Club, and in particular our AFL teams. You are just remarkable.
Speaking of remarkable, I would also like to mention the Dreamtime game in Perth. Circumstances sent the game west this year and the support it received in that part of the country is a testament to the importance of the game and all that it stands for. I think we were all delighted to see the game sell out so quickly and credit goes to all the Richmond and Essendon supporters who attended, and importantly, the local Indigenous communities who embraced the occasion. We thank each and every one of you.
Trade periods are always a mix of excitement and sadness, and so it was with the recent changes to our AFLW list. We have welcomed Jess Hosking, Poppy Kelly and Maddie Shevlin to Tigerland and we look forward to seeing them in the Yellow and Black. We farewell Sabrina Frederick, Phoebe Monahan, Alannah Woodward, Holly Whitford, Cleo Saxon-Jones, Emily Harley, Luca Lesosky-Hay and Alice Edmonds and thank each of them for being a part of building our AFLW team.
The major off-field priorities at the moment for both the Board and Brendon’s management team focus on our people and our place.
We are determined to provide our staff and players with as much support and care as possible as we continue to manage our way through this difficult period. Our people are at the heart of what we deliver as a Club, and we are committed to ensuring their welfare so that they can continue their great work building a football Club you are proud of, on and off the field.
Our place - the Swinburne Centre - is also at the forefront of much of our work. The planned redevelopment is critical to ensuring the Richmond Football Club remains in its historic homeland long-term. Among other things, we want to provide the proper facilities to support our elite AFLW program and to enable us to broaden and deepen our community work. We are hoping to commence the final design phase shortly and we look forward to sharing more detail with you in the not too distant future. We have $30 million committed to the project thanks to the Federal and State governments - about half of what will be required to complete the redevelopment. We will soon embark on a major fundraising program to secure the balance.
In the meantime, we will buckle ourselves in for the run home. Thanks again for your unwavering support. Look after yourselves, and those around you, in these uncertain times. We look forward to seeing you at the football soon.
And remember, you can send me questions by email at email@example.com and I will answer as many as I can in my next column.