Women want opportunity, they want to be supported and you have all done that.
By investing in St Kilda's AFLW side, you have enabled the players to have the opportunity to grow, to influence a new generation by providing hope for young girls, and providing a new acceptance of norms for young boys.
Your commitment to us is committing to a better place for women.
When I was a child, I always thought I was a bit different.
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I hated dresses and could not stand dolls.
I was at peace when I was in my footy shorts and Saints’ jumper with the No. 1 on the back.
I wore my footy boots as if they were my runners.
My greatest memories as a child were at Moorabbin.
Climbing the concrete pillar of the stand and sliding down the grass hills on cardboard boxes we got from the bar.
Collecting cans to save enough money to buy a hot jam donut.
Drinking the left-over vinegar from the bucket of chips to keep warm.
But most of all, I remember enjoying a kick on the field after the game, which really looked more like dodgeball on steroids.
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With our parents solid social club members, my brother and I would disappear and we would continue to kick into the darker hours of the night.
Moorabbin back then was a place where I knew I belonged.
Now Molly McDonald gets to wear the No. 1 for real.
She gets to play footy for real.
Our AFLW players have the chance to inspire and ignite the Bayside community and create a place whereby a new generation find a new place where they belong.
I applaud the journey that our 30 players have already taken to be here.
I am inspired by the courage and vulnerability they show when they enter the field and express themselves.
And I can promise that the South will fall in love with this team.
When you watch AFLW, you feel the emotion, the dedication, the hard work and the sacrifice that they have all made.
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You feel the joy they bring when they kick a goal or nail a tackle, but importantly when they play footy true to themselves.
Our AFLW team is quite unique in which they have all been selected for a particular characteristic and you will fall in love with the many variations of players we have.
You will fall in love with the high-flyers, the long kickers, the fast runners the hard tacklers, the classy footballers. This team will delight!
It will not be with out its challenges and as an expansion club we have many, but to be honest, whether you are 100 years old or one year old, all teams have their challenges.
This is why everybody’s support in this room is important to the playing group.
We acknowledge the role that loved ones have played and will continue to play and that is why we have invited a loved one to present the jumper to each of the players.
To the playing group, you have already equipped yourselves in such a short period.
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You have come up with strong values, of AUTHENTICITY, LEGACY, GRIT and UNITY, all underpinned by trust.
We are proud, we are one, we are relentless.
We are ourselves.
Play to your strengths, believe in yourselves, look to grow, be yourselves, have fun and play football because you love it and you love the red, white and black.
Let’s own that in 2020.