In this Sports Geek Throwback episode, Sean Callanan interviews Nick Truelson from episode 131, who was at the Western Bulldogs when the interview took place, now CEO of Melbourne United

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Key Takeaways

The discussion of this episode revolves around how the introduction of the AFL Women's league (AFLW) revolutionized the club's strategy and celebrity engagement:

  • The AFLW offered an exciting opportunity for the club to increase its community impact
  • The surge in the number of young girls playing Aussie rules football across Australia became a commercial boon for the club
  • Engaging with celebrities like Tim Cahill and the Hemsworth brothers provided significant brand exposure
  • The club's young team and universally loved senior coach, Luke Beveridge, became major selling points
  • Staying true to the club's community-oriented ethos while capitalizing on these new opportunities was a crucial balance

This transcript has been lightly edited by AI

Sean: You did talk a little bit there about the club now. Even though you have been in the women's football game for a long time, being one of the licensees for the new Women's AFL, how has that changed tact for the for the club overall? Or is it just a bit more effort now put into that space?

Nick: I think we've had a mantra for the last season around three teams, one club. So where we have got a team in the AFL, we've got a men's team in the VFL, we've also got a women's team. Now being able to bring that to life, it's a super exciting opportunity. We won all three cups this year. So we won the AFL Premiership, the VFL premiership the week before the AFL one and the women's exhibition game the week now that we played and we won the cup for that as well. So it's pretty exciting for us to go into that. The gender equality side of things is really important and we've got a really good partnership with White Ribbon out of our men's health program and we're very focused on things like how do we make sure domestic violence against women stops.

I think having a women's brand now as a Western Bulldogs team is going to be amazing for what we can do in the community. The amount of young girls playing the game, they're expecting half a million girls to be playing Aussie rules football next year across Australia. So, I think that's exciting but from a commercial point of view it's also opened up amazingly new doors for us. We've got Priceline, an enormous Australian brand on board as our core major partner with Bob Jane T-Marts. So, to get two brands who are really strong in the marketplace who are going to be able to work with is super exciting.

Sean: Yes, again for the people who don't know the women's AFL league launches next year before the AFL proper kicks in. So we're interested to see one how it runs. It sort of running right at the time when the footy fun stuff for footy. So it's going to be really in the right spot for everyone to check it out with eight teams in the first year. The last thing if you do follow Nick on Twitter @NickTruelson, you will see Nick with a lot of selfies with celebrities. Is this a big part of the Bulldogs strategy or is it you just want to hanging out with the Tim Cahill. Did you met Thor? If you didn't see, Chris Hemsworth's picture, I think it was after the preliminary final in Western Bulldogs jumper with the guns out. I think half a million likes or something on Instagram. There were a few celebrity fans of the Bulldogs jumping on board to make sure they have the grand final.

Nick: I think that's a bit of a change for us from our brand point of view as well and Tim Cahill's a great example and someone who's fantastic to follow on social media as well. His engagement with the fans has been great but when he did come to Melbourne as part of Melbourne City, Shane Delia who I mentioned before he's a Melbourne City ambassador as well as a Bulldog's one and Shane rang me up and said, “Tim is keen to get a team.”

Sean: For those who are listening, if anyone moves to Melbourne and people find out that you've just moved to Melbourne the first question every Melbournian will ask you is who's your team and it's almost like you are shamed into having a team. If you don't have a team, it's a question you going to keep getting. So it was a real opportunity and lucky enough that Shane was able to connect you.

Connect with Nick Truelson

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Listen to full episode with Nick Truelson