PIONEER of women’s football Debbie Lee made history on Tuesday night, being the first woman inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame.
Lee, who was a driving force behind Melbourne’s AFLW program and an integral part of its establishment, was recognised for her years of service to the game, both on and off the field.
Playing 302 VWLF (now VFLW) games across a long and distinguished career, Lee first joined the Demons in 2009, initially as the club’s community manager.
She was a fundamental voice from the outset, essentially introducing Melbourne to women’s football, and helped shape the inaugural season of the AFLW competition as Women’s Football Manager.
After nine years at the club, Lee departed for the Western Bulldogs at the end of 2017, with the opportunity to continue to coach the VFLW club that she founded in 1993, the VU Western Spurs, a prominent factor.
She has continued to develop at the top level and is now General Manager, Women’s Football at the Bulldogs.
Lee’s induction follows her AFL Life Membership, which she was awarded last year, where she became only the third female to receive the prestigious honour.
Alongside Lee, former players Chris Judd, Nathan Burke and Rob Wiley were also recognised, while three-time Sandover Medal winner Merv McIntosh and ten-time SANFL Premiership Coach Jack Oatey AM were elevated to Legend status.
The Melbourne Football Club extends its congratulations to all this year’s inductees, and in particular to Lee, who will forever be a trailblazing Demon.