BALLARAT Football League boss Rod Ward will step up to govern the region’s country football ranks.
AFL Victoria yesterday unveiled Ward as inaugural AFL Goldfields regional general manager.
Ward will oversee strategic administrative structure and football development across the Ballarat Football Netball League, Central Highlands Football League, Maryborough Castlemaine District Football Netball League and the Ballarat Football Umpires Association.
His new position comes under a restructuring of Victorian country football after an AFL 2012 review deemed the state’s country leagues needed a change in governance structures for better strategic focus and more effective decision-making at a regional level.
An AFL Ballarat commission set up its region in late 2012 and also announced yesterday it would adopt the AFL Goldfields name.
Each Goldfields region league will maintain existing boards and operational teams.
This means Ward will resign his current roles, including BFL and Ballarat Leagues Club chief executive officer and Maryborough Castlemaine and Riddell District leagues general manager. Such roles will be restructured accordingly.
Ward said he was thrilled for the opportunity and challenges his new role would offer.
“Like all state regions, I’ll continue to develop and grow the game in the Goldfields region,” Ward said.
“I have ideas, but I’d like to engage all stakeholders first.
“... My role will include developing football in the region, which has unique challenges in itself when you look at drawing in areas like Melton and Sunbury to some clubs in Maryborough Castlemaine based in towns where there is almost no population growth.”
Ward said his annual November talks with league administrators and staff had been deliberately postponed so he could focus more on the short and medium-term before the seasons’ start.
AFL Victoria Goldfields Commission chairman Tim Bunning said Ward’s appointment followed an extensive interview process of high-quality candidates.
Mr Ward is a four-time winner of the Victorian Country Football League’s administrator of the year.
“In the end, we found Rod’s professional experience in the industry and proven track record of growing football and netball in this area made him the outstanding candidate,” Mr Bunning said.
Mr Ward’s role as AFL Goldfields regional general manager becomes effective on April 1.