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Laura Kane hailed as new AFL football boss


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, 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.

"I'm really proud," Kane told reporters on Monday.

"I feel thankful that the industry has supported me from the outside to come in and work my way through a club, across men's and women's football, and have a wonderful experience in the process.

"To look around and see female presidents, female CEOs, female executives ... it's a really big moment for women in our game."

Hawthorn women's coach Bec Goddard and Essendon counterpart Natalie Wood on Monday lauded Kane's full-time appointment.

"If you're good at what you do, there's opportunity for you on and off the football field," Wood said.

"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."

Kane listed improving in-game technology, specifically relating to the goal review system, as one of her top priorities in her new role.

She added she would also be focused on increasing AFLW scoring, improving relationships with clubs and being more accessible to fans and media.

"You'll see my team more accessible to the fans to help them understand where the game is at, where it's going and take everyone on the journey with us," Kane said.

Dillon has been impressed by Kane's leadership abilities, poise and intelligence.

"I knew how talented she was but to see her excel in the (interim) role over the last few months made me certain that she was the candidate for this footy role," Dillon said.

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 is also looking to appoint a new GM of football performance, who will also report to Kane.