CEO update

A message to our Members and supporters

It is pleasing to be able to share this update with you on the back of an exciting and well deserved win on Sunday.

Firstly, may I thank each and every one of you for your continued invaluable support throughout a year that has not delivered the results you rightly expect and to which we all aspire.

Several narrow losses (six by six points or less), some matches lost on decisions that could have gone either way, salary cap constraints and of course an incredible run of injuries which have left several key players sidelined for a large percentage of the year have all combined to add to the challenges of our 2018 season. Yet not once has our playing group lost its resolve or collective drive for success.

To that end, be assured that every individual in our Club is fully focussed on ensuring that our last four matches of the year finish with the results our playing group, staff, members, supporters, community and corporate partners deserve.

Years like this happen in nearly all professional sporting Clubs at some stage in their history, and when they do it is how we react to them that ultimately defines who we are. The choice to give in is never an option, and week in week out this has been the attitude of every single person associated with our Club.

While some would suggest that our Club is in crisis we cannot and will not let that derail us.

Areas such as match fixing allegations which were never proven and ultimately withdrawn; salary cap breach allegations for the period 2013-17 which are currently the subject of appeal under the NRL Rules and Regulations; constant speculation about external parties wanting to buy the Club; and past player issues, seem to regularly raise their head.

The disappointing issues of Gladstone served as a major reminder to all in our Club of the culture, values and behaviours that are essential to shaping a truly great Club and while we certainly let ourselves down, and could have and should have handled this matter far better than we did (I take full responsibility for that) be assured that these lessons have been well and truly learned.

Similarly, no matter what the outcome of the salary cap appeal will be, we have to accept the final adjudication and get on with business. We cannot change the final ruling, but we can and will control what is to follow in this vital area of our operations.

Equally, our ownership group could not be more committed to the journey ahead having been an integral part of producing one of the most successful NRL Clubs over the past ten years including two premierships, a World Club Challenge, a Holden Cup, and only being out of the finals series twice in that time.

Commitments currently in the pipeline include:

  • Advertising for a Senior NRL Recruitment/List Manager with Management currently sifting through the 141 applications so far received
  • Extending all key Football High Performance staff to longer term contracts
  • The appointment of a new member to the Welfare and Education department with specialised experience in career education for our younger and emerging players
  • The establishment of additional management and administration positions in areas including Community, Digital, Membership and Game Day experience
  • Consideration of the appointment of an NRL Director of Football
  • The recent appointment of a seasoned NRL executive, John Bonasera, to the vital role of General Manager of Football
  • The appointment of a Pathways Coach to sit over the coaching structure of the elite player pathway and to become a third NRL assistant coach
  • Appointment of a Manager Sales and Customer Experience (with over 140 applications received)
  • Appointment of an additional Assistant Accountant to support our Club's focus on salary cap and compliance matters (with over 150 applications received)

Further and excitedly, we continue to work vigorously with all levels of Government (Local, State and Federal) with a view to creating our Club's own Centre of Excellence with $22.5 million currently secured towards this game changing project. While the planning and related matters associated with completing this project do not happen overnight, this is a major focus and commitment moving forward and it is anticipated that some exciting plans in this regard will be unveiled in the near future.

Finally, on myself, despite rumours to the contrary, I want to assure you that I have not made any contact, direct or indirect, in relation to the CEO role with St. George or any other Club; and further I was not recently on an overseas holiday as reported.

With the full blessing of the Board, I took my sixteen year old son to the UK following invitations for him to trial for various English Football Clubs and spent a few days with him to help him acclimatise before leaving him there on his own. I am super proud of him and know he will do well. To suggest I abandoned our Club is both extremely disappointing and the furthest thing from the truth.

Our Club has a very bright future ahead of it and I thank you sincerely for your continued support of it. Your commitment is invaluable and the pillar on which our rich past has been so strongly built and the platform on which we will collectively strive to take our Club to even greater heights moving forward.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our home game next Saturday.