Fitzroy Football Club: Great football, Great community, Great culture.

Thank you Kate!


Kate Nolan has served the Fitzroy Football Club as a Director for almost seven years after taking up a casual vacancy as Director of Communications and Media in 2015. Kate has achieved so much in her role and the Club is grateful for her service, always going above and beyond to make our communications sparkle and deliver outstanding events. In her own words, Kate shares what being part of Fitzroy has meant to her.


As I prepare to step down, I feel so lucky and grateful to have been welcomed into the fabulous Fitzroy family. It's something you cannot explain, if you don't experience it. I think everyone who does, knows how lucky they are. I cannot imagine staying away for long. I have gained so many friendships and more.

I'm particularly proud that in my first full year on the Board, we voted to establish our women's football program in partnership with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and seeing the Club embrace women's footy has been really rewarding, with so much potential for growth.

With a Board of just five Directors, we couldn't have been more thrilled when the Senior and Reserves Men took out the 2018 Premier C premierships. It was a hard slog, but just so rewarding to see the team bounce straight back after relegation. The Women's Ressies also made the grand final and Thirds played in the prelim that year too (I'm sure Trent will snag the trophy soon!). It was busy but so much fun!

I have so many highlights and it's hard to name them all, but some of the things I'm particularly proud of from my time as Director are:

  • Our first Pride game last year against the Uni Melb Women's Team. From an initial discussion with then captain Gemma Minuz several years ago, to seeing it all come to fruition with some incredibly hard work and collaboration—it's hard to believe we got it done despite the COVID complications. It sets us up so well for the future and the presence of so many from the Club on the day strongly demonstrates the full commitment to inclusion.
  • Along those lines, I am also just rapt that the club is embracing the Respectful Relationships program, which is a strong statement from an amateur club, and really shows leadership in this area. Michael Pickering has done so much for this Club, on field and off, and this may be one of our most enduring legacies.
  • When I first arrived, the first job I was given was to 'fix the website'. Work was already underway, but I've worked strongly with our sponsors Fitzroy IT all the way through my time at the club and they have helped us achieve probably the best website in the VAFA. With our ability now to transact so much of our business online, really playing a strong roll in increasing our revenue from merchandise and other sales, and reducing a lot of the admin time for volunteers.
  • When the VAFA established their first media awards, Fitzroy took out two of the four in the first year, and still holds the most awards and the most nominations. I was thrilled we could nominate so many of our outstanding volunteers and see their work acknowledged. It was no surprise to us to learn Phyllis Quealy was the best football photographer going around, always capturing the essence of Fitzroy, on and off field.
  • To see the RedRoy mail and social media develop a really strong following has also been important to the Club in maintaining connections with old and new fans, and it's really remarkable when we see the membership purchases coming in from WA, the UK and other far-flung locations. Our history is really such a strength.
  • Working with the players on things like coaching clinics with Yarra Youth Services for the kids at Atherton Gardens and the St Vincent's Hospital fundraising walk were also part of an important pattern of connecting with the local community, which continues to grow.
  • The game day lunches have been such a highlight of my time. We've pulled off some real coups and also woven in important social issues too. Working with Prof Clare Wright OAM to establish the first Literary lunch with a star-studded panel, was extremely rewarding, as was our big day with Susan Alberti AC, and other perhaps lower-profile guests who surprised and challenged us just the same, addressing things like mental health and sports gambling. Every year we ran a women in footy lunch too and some of the early guests have now gone on to be household names – people like Katie Brennan, Lauren Arnell and Kaitlyn Ashmore. Without a doubt the most popular lunches were the ones featuring the heroes of Fitzroy's VFL/AFL days, with my favourite having to be the Serafini Brothers, bringing down the house.
  • The most moving would have to have been our first Indigenous lunch with an on-field Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country by Uncle Ron Jones and guest speaker, Glenn James OAM. The buglers, speakers and ceremonies on ANZAC Day are also hard to match.
  • Running three Redlows at the Regal Ballroom also had its rewards, particularly when we convinced the fabulous Dr Kasey Symons to emcee for us, soon after luring her to the Board, where she continues as an outstanding contributor. We have her to thank for securing the Change Her Game grant which enabled us to get the Pride Game off the ground and she was really such a driver and a huge force in getting the job done. I want to thank Kasey for all her work taking the role of Director: Comms and Marketing to the next level since joining the Board. The virtual Redlow was also quite amazing this year.
  • My other highlight is just Sharon Torney! What would this club do without her? I marvel at her mind, her patience and her work ethic all the time. Thanks Sharon. You are incredible.

I want to give a huge thank you to Anita Roper and Tom Sargant who interviewed me and brought me onto the board and encouraged me when I was very unsure in the early days. Joan has been just a powerhouse President and I have learnt so much from her. Congratulations Joan on your incredible legacy and all you've achieved in community football. I'm sure there's more to come. Like me, I reckon she might be hard to keep away!

My special love and thanks go to the Directors, especially the fab five who made it through 2018, and my partner in crime for so much of the comms work in the early days, Gabrielle Murphy. I want to call out Phyllis, Kerry Winchester, Bill Atherton, Dave Barnes, Tom Roper, Louise and Steve, Rob and Anne, and so many more. All of the coaches, along with captains Jules, Cass, Gemma, Rory, Jess and Alexa have been a delight to work with as we've attempted to wrangle so many player events. It's never easy, but the great humour and commitment to getting a good outcome means we got the job done.

Finally, I would encourage anyone to volunteer with this great Club. There can never be enough hands getting seven teams on the park every week and you will get plenty back in return. And sponsoring male and female players each year, whether they know who you are or they don't, gives you a greater connection to what's going on field and is a very meaningful contribution to the Club and to players who have to pay to play.

Thanks Fitzroy, for all you've given me.

Kate Nolan

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