Darebin Falcons would like to congratulate Lauren Arnell on a sensational AFLW career, and wish her all the best for the next part of her adventures.

Bowing out as a AFLW Grand Final Winner

Winning the 2021 Grand Final with the Brisbane Lions, Arnell has come a full circle in her AFLW career.  From running out as Carlton’s captain, kicking a goal in a best on ground performance, in the first-ever NAB AFL Women’s match in 2017, Arnell was part of making history. Announcing her retirement before the match, Arnell played a sensational game, and her goal late in the 3rd quarter was truly representative of one of sport’s biggest stories of triumph against adversity that was the Lions maiden premiership.

Lauren chatted to a former Falcon team mate Libby Birch about the game on her way home to Brisbane.  Watch the interview on Women’s Footy’s Facebook Page.

Lauren Arnell being chaired off the ground after the 2021 AFLW Grand Final.

Early footy career and Falcons success

Arnell grew up on a cattle farm, playing just one game of footy in a school tournament in her last year of primary school until the age of 17 joining North Ballarat.

She moved to the Darebin Falcons, playing in the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) in 2006.  Joining the Darebin Falcons as an 18 year old, Arnell saw the momentous effort and committment of a community of volunteers passionate about giving women opportunities on and off the field.

We won ten premierships at Darebin, and we were lucky to have one drink handed to us.  Men’s footy for a long time has been a business, women’s footy was always a community sport, held together by volunteers.

To appreciate where AFLW has come from, is to understand the purpose of why we played.”

Lauren Arnell

Source: ESPN, April 2021

An incredibly talented footballer, Arnell won 9 premierships with the Falcons, a highly skilled, motivated and brilliantly creative footballer.  

Lauren Arnell holding the VFLW Premiership Cup in 2017.

An AFL leader, mentor and commentator

Arnell achieved the highest accolades in AFL, representing Victoria at the AFL Women’s National Championships on six occasions; three times selected as an All-Australian. In 2010, Arnell was selected as one of forty players to participate in the women’s AFL high-performance camp, playing in a curtain-raiser exhibition match ahead of the Round 12, 2010 AFL match between Melbourne and Collingwood.  She played for the Western Bulldogs in all five exhibition games.

Her AFLW journey began with Carlton in early 2016, where she played a vital role in the club’s successful bid for a place in the AFLW competition, and captained the team in the inaugural 2017 season. After two years with the Blues, Arnell headed north to the Brisbane Lions where she has been a strong leader and mentor for the team.

Lauren Arnell captains Carlton in the first ever game of AFLW, Source: Carlton Blues Fans You Tube

One of the game’s most articulate players, Lauren Arnell joined ABC Radio at the start of the 2017 AFL season as an expert analysis for ABC Grandstand. She has been part of the AFL Players Association Advisory Committee and worked at AFL Victoria as Training and Education Manager.

Arnell’s passion and talent for coaching has been another strength for the Brisbane, from Auskick programs, and working with younger and developing players. An accredited coach, Arnell was appointed in 2021 to the coaching team at the Brisbane Lions Hyundai Help for Kids Academy.

“She brings a lot of footy knowledge, but she has also been terrific in being a figurehead for us in the girls’ space. She isn’t just a coach – she is also really adding a lot in the welfare space where she does a lot of work with the young players who have to juggle their footy and education.’’

Paul Henriksen

Brisbane Lions Academy Head

A Falcon for life

Lauren Arnell is a life member of our club, recognised for her outstanding contribution and dedication to the Falcons since her first season in 2006, to her return to the VFLW team in 2019 where she celebrated her 200th game milestone in true Lauren Arnell style by snapping the sealer from the pocket in a hard-fought win over Geelong.

“In 2019, she played the one game in the Master’s league so she could play with her mum, Brenda for Coburg. Coburg was playing Darebin and I can still remember just such a thrill from just being on the ground with Lauren.  I was playing directly on Brenda in the forward line when Lauren picked up the ball in the centre and I remember just yelling to Brenda “go! go!  this one is for you!” and just loving the moment.’


Darebin Masters Player

Jackie Lynch, Darebin Falcons Masters Player, sums up how Lauren Arnell has inspired us to pursue our passion for Women’s Football at the Darebin Falcons. 

Thanks for everything Loz!

Rob Lawson Photography

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