Almanac Footy Elections: Board Nominee Jennifer Holdstock with some thoughts on the future of the Hawthorn Football Club


Jennifer Holdstock


It’s been 10 years since there has been a contested election at Hawthorn.  This year there are six candidates vying for two positions.  It’s really great to see so much interest from people not nominated internally.  I am one of the contenders.


Bringing together 20 years as a lawyer, with my great passion for the Club, it is the culmination of a lifetime dream.


Having been involved in the Footy Girls case in 2003 and 2004 (, fighting for the right to allow banned girls to continue to play footy, the time feels right with Hawthorn joining the ALFW.  It’s time for greater female participation on the Hawthorn Football Club board.


It’s also time for greater diversity generally.  Hawthorn boasts a really diverse membership, and such diversity is not recognised at the Board level.


In my mind, things that are on the agenda for change at Hawthorn over the next few years include (in no particular order):


Post-pandemic recovery, including financial recovery and re-engaging with the membership;


Achieving better member representation at the Board level;


Updating and amending the Club’s constitution;


Finding a succession plan for the current board members, including its President;


Working on and consolidating the Kennedy Community Centre at Dingley as a long-term, sustainable prospect for the Club;


Finding a new major sponsor in lieu of Tasmania, should the AFL grant Tasmania a licence for an AFLM Club in Tasmania;


Working out how operations at the Club align with the Club’s self-confessed “Family Club” status, and if they don’t, making a plan to fix that;


Finding a dignified way of seeing long-term employees, whether they be coaches or players, exit the Club in a way that honours their contribution;


Nurturing the development of the Hawks’ new AFLW team to ensure they are supported in every way;


Finding other ways for the club to monetise other than through revenue from poker machines;


Developing better mechanisms for support for First Nations players and their families;


Establishing a venue for all Hawks fans (all ages) to meet and greet either before or post a game at the MCG.  The now defunct social club in Linda Crescent used to provide that facility which was warmly and gratefully patronised by members frequently! These days with so many members, there could or should be a facility for members, supporters and their families and friends to gather and either celebrate, commiserate or debrief.


Ensuring there’s a plan or strategy for supporting former players, in retirement, who suffer post playing debilitating injuries.


I do not think an election at Hawthorn is destabilising.  I think it indicates a willingness for members who are suitably equipped to present themselves for consideration at the election.  It is for members to decide who is elected to the Board after careful consideration of the nominated candidates.  It is a democratic process, set out in the Club’s constitution.


I’m putting my hand up at this time, because I come from a long-time Hawthorn family (I only found out when I went to school that kids barracked for teams other than Hawthorn!), I consider I have the appropriate skill set to make a significant contribution, and personally, I’m in a position in my working life, where I have the ability to set time aside for important contributions to society, and in this case, the Hawthorn Football Club.


Jennifer Holdstock


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  1. Well said Ms Holdstock – it’s long past time and a voice that has stepped up just for the love of the club is what is needed right now.

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