To our loyal Bulldog family,

I hope you’ve enjoyed a safe and relaxing summer with family and friends after what was another disrupted year with the covid-19 pandemic.

We continue to face challenges with the virus from a football perspective, with our AFLW season impacted twice already due to AFL Health and Safety Protocols, while our men’s team continues to be vigilant as they enter a crucial block of pre-season training.

Despite this, we have so much to look forward to in 2022, and the sense of excitement from our members and fans is palpable. If you haven’t signed up yet, we encourage you to join us on our record-breaking journey beyond 50,000 members. A massive thank you to the just over 37,000 of you who have already committed for the year ahead.

We are now just over six weeks away from our opening round AFL Grand Final rematch against Melbourne, while we look forward to welcoming you all back to VU Whitten Oval tomorrow night for our critical AFLW clash against Fremantle.

In the meantime, we have some exciting work to update you on, as the next stage of our Whitten Oval Precinct redevelopment gets underway.

Over the coming weeks, preparations will commence ahead of the demolition of the existing Whitten Stand, which will kick-start a significant reimagining of our home over the next few years.

This year we will begin to rebuild the stand to become the centerpiece of our amazing facility, as well as install broadcast quality lighting, start work on an indoor training field, reconfigure the surface of the oval and begin landscaping works to improve the experience for our fans and visitors on AFLW, VFL, and VFLW match-days.

We will transform our football facilities for our four elite teams to provide the best chance for sustained success, and we will provide modern amenities for our community to enjoy.  It will be a place for all Bulldogs people and our wider community to work, explore, engage and connect.

Crucially, we are committed to recognising our long and storied history throughout the new facility, as well as those who have played a significant role in ensuring we have become the prosperous and strong Club you support today.

That includes our generous donors, and the almost 400 loyal members and fans who purchased a plaque in the Whitten Stand as part of the Club’s debt reduction campaign in 2013.

We will communicate directly with the owners of those plaques this week with our plans to honour their important contribution.

Unfortunately, due to the sheer size of the work needing to be undertaken over the next couple of years, there will be some impact on access for visitors to VU Whitten Oval.  This will include decreased carparking spaces and reduced capacity for matches held at the venue.

Barkers Café and the Bulldog Shop will continue to operate from the precinct, with finer details of access and operations to be communicated in due course.

As we continue to work closely with key stakeholders to hand over sections of the facility to our construction partners, tomorrow night’s AFLW match against Fremantle and this weekend’s scheduled Round 5 game against Richmond remain likely to be the final opportunities for our members and fans to sit in the famous stand in its current form.

We encourage our Bulldogs family to take this opportunity to soak in the nostalgia of the Whitten Stand, imagining the exciting future that awaits the Club while you support our Fierce Women of the west.

We’ll have more updates on our design plans and other aspects of the redevelopment to share with you throughout 2022.  Until then, take care and stay safe.

Go Dogs!

Ameet Bains.