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Cap­tain of the Carl­ton AFLW team

Had you told a teenage Lau­ren Ar­nell she’d one day cap­tain a team in a na­tional women’s Aus­tralian foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion, she may have laughed at you. She’s not laugh­ing now — at least not about that. Lau­ren be­came Carl­ton cap­tain for the AFLW’s first sea­son and played in the in­au­gu­ral game at a packed Ikon Park.

“It felt like a huge cel­e­bra­tion that women could be sup­ported to per­form at AFL level in front of more than 25,000 peo­ple and a mil­lion na­tion­ally on tele­vi­sion,” she says. “It was ex­hil­a­rat­ing and a ridicu­lous amount of fun with my team mates.”

The new sea­son of AFLW starts on 2 Fe­bru­ary, and Lau­ren en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to get to a game: “Ex­pect a fierce, pas­sion­ate and skilled con­test un­like any other game of AFL you’ve seen.”

Here are some of Lau­ren’s favourite

Mel­bourne places:


In the off sea­son, I treat my­self at Melba Restau­rant’s buf­fet in The Lang­ham, Mel­bourne for a very long din­ner.


Princes Park, ob­vi­ously. It’s the home of Carl­ton, is sur­rounded by won­der­ful park­lands and has a rel­a­tively flat and open 3.2-kilo­me­tre run­ning track.


There are end­less views I love all over Mel­bourne. My top three are: walk­ing through Yarra Park to the MCG; any­where around the run­ning trails at Yarra Bend; and the 360-de­gree view from Gov­ern­ment House in the Royal Botanic Gar­dens Vic­to­ria.

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