Former North Melbourne coach Dani Laidley has returned to Arden St, describing it as a significant day for her "old and new tribe".
Laidley, a 1996 premiership player for North who then coached the AFL club between 2003 and 2009, on Friday joined fellow former coach Brad Scott in celebrating the club eliminating their debt.
In a panel discussion with Scott and current coach David Noble, Laidley spoke of how important North had been in her life.
She also relayed some old war stories about coaching the Kangaroos before their state-of-the-art facilities were built.
"I'm very proud today. It's a significant day," she said, in a rare public appearance.
"It's probably the first time I've represented my old tribe and my new tribe so it's a significant week for us.
"I think, going forward, the club's in great hands."
She was welcomed by everyone in attendance, including North legend Brent Harvey, who gave his former coach a big hug.
North chairman Ben Buckley was delighted Laidley accepted the club's invitation.
"Dani's been an important part of the North Melbourne footy club's history," Buckley said.
"She has a lot of friends, past teammates and we reached out to Dani, embraced her and embraced the new chapter in her life and it's fantastic to see her here.
"To hear her speak and her memories of the football club, it gives you a very warm feeling that football clubs are very embracing of their people and we're here for Dani."
Former North chairman James Brayshaw spoke glowingly of Laidley and the contribution she made in the late-2000s when the Kangaroos were scrapping to survive in Melbourne amid a move from the AFL to shift the club to the Gold Coast.
"In 2007, when we were really fighting city hall pretty hard, what we were able to be is incredibly relevant on the field," Brayshaw said.
"We were in a prelim final in 2007, finals in 2008 with the worst-funded footy department in the game."
Noble said Laidley's appearance at Arden St made an already great day for the club even better.
"I'm not sure Dani quite related how important the club has been to her," he said.
"It's been very significant in her life and I was stoked she was able to come today and feel comfortable to come."
Laidley played 151 AFL games, including 99 for the Kangaroos, after being part of West Coast's inaugural team in 1987.
Last week, Victoria's anti-corruption commission confirmed it was investigating allegations police officers have again shared a secret photo of the 54-year-old with transphobic comments.
The fresh inquiry comes just six months after Victoria Police ordered 11 police to pay out thousands of dollars to Laidley after they leaked photos of her mug shot.
Australian Associated Press
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