Hawthorn Football Club, together with the Queensland Government and AFL Cairns, have announced a three-year partnership extension to continue the brown and gold’s AFLW presence in the northern region.

The announcement comes off the back of the Hawks flocking north to Cairns to stage their AFLW pre-season camp last year, before hosting the competition’s inaugural match at Cazalys Stadium during the AFLW’s Indigenous Round.

As part of the extended deal, the Hawks will continue to host one game in Cairns for at least the next three seasons, helping foster elite women’s sport in the region and putting Northern Queensland back on the map for all sports lovers.

This will include a Thursday night blockbuster in the upcoming 2024 NAB AFLW season, with the Hawks to welcome the Melbourne Demons to Cazalys Stadium in Cairns on October 24th. The full 2024 NAB AFLW fixture will be released tomorrow.

The partnership also includes opportunities for Hawthorn to travel to the region and highlight the growth across AFLW, as well as fostering social inclusion and broader community health benefits through the delivery of key initiatives.

The impact of Hawthorn’s AFLW presence has already been felt this year, with star Hawks duo Emily Bates and Greta Bodey immersing themselves in the region to welcome the Port Douglas Crocs as the newest team in AFL Cairns.

Members and fans looking to lock in their travel plans for the Round 9 clash in Cairns can book flights via virginaustralia.com.au.

AFLW – Round 9
Hawthorn v Melbourne
Thursday 24 October
Cazalys Stadium, 6.45pm AEST / 7.45pm AEDT

Hawthorn Chief Executive Officer Ash Klein said:

“This is an incredibly valuable partnership in so many ways, from inspiring women and girls in the northern region to the game of Aussie Rules, to fostering community connections to help drive wider health benefits.

“On the back of our successful pre-season camp in Cairns, followed by our historic inaugural AFLW match, we were proud to immerse ourselves within the Cairns community, as our players and coaches enjoyed such a rewarding experience alongside locals.

“We are looking forward to growing the brown and gold Northern Nest across the next three years with even more opportunities to engage with the footy-loving Cairns region and create a healthier, happier and more connected community.”

Member for Cairns & Tourism and Sport Minister Michael Healy said:

“We’re delighted to officially be the Northern Nest for the Hawthorn Hawks AFLW team.

“For the next three years we will get to see the brown and gold play an official home match at Cazalys Stadium.

“The AFLW Indigenous Round clash on Thursday October 24 this year will be highly anticipated in Cairns – with an incredible 380 per cent increase statewide in Queensland girls and women playing AFL.

“It's a true showpiece event, and Cazalys Stadium is quite simply the best AFL oval in regional Australia.

“This is a wonderful investment in our tourism economy and women’s sport.

“For teams, support crew and the growing AFLW supporters, they will get to enjoy our great lifestyle and world-class visitor experiences.”

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said:

“This is an incredible opportunity for Cairns and the Far North, and I can’t wait to join hundreds of other Cairns locals to watch the match.

“Sport brings communities together and can play an important role in our mental wellbeing, this historic match will have a profound impact not only on our sporting landscape but on our young women and girls.

“You can’t be what you can’t see, and these women are inspiring women and girls right across the state to become more active and get involved in the game and organised sport.”

AFL Cairns General Manager Craig Lees said:

"AFL Cairns is thrilled to partner with Hawthorn Football Club and the Queensland Government. Hawthorn's impact was profound in 2023, leaving a legacy in growing our great game.

“This collaboration is already making a significant impact on our community by promoting the growth of the women's game and enhancing social inclusion in Northern Queensland.

We are excited about the next three years and look forward to working with Hawthorn FC and the state government in providing wonderful opportunities to our Cairns community."

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Amy Eden said:

“This a fantastic opportunity for Cairns and will kick goals in terms of encouraging more girls to get on the field and involved in sport.

“In welcoming today’s announcement, Council is eager to look at ways to support Hawthorn Football Club in their endeavours to bring elite sport to our region.

“There is no doubt women’s participation in sport is growing – just in Cairns we have seen a 25 percent increase in girls and women playing AFL since 2021.

“This is only set to soar with the Hawks committing to three games in the city over the next three years, building on the success of their pre-season camp and premiership match in Cairns last year.”

See below a gallery featuring the AFLW Hawks immersing themselves in the Cairns community last year.