As we contemplate the 2022 season, it is fair to say that we were a long way from satisfactory results on the field overall, noting however that there were some positive signs starting to appear. It was very pleasing to see the league side getting wins on the board in the last quarter of the season, as well as the reserves progressing to the finals, along with more consistent performances from the U18’s towards the back end of the year. But we’ve got a long way to go. It’s imperative that the whole Club works together and raises the bar to the next level across all the playing groups. Accordingly, a Football Operations Review Working Group has been established to produce an operational plan that delivers the key outcomes of the football strategic plan set down by the Board. This Group is ably chaired by John Kantilaftas and consists of individuals that possess the relevant skills, experience and commitment to the Club’s purpose and vision. It reports directly to the Board who is indeed grateful for the dedication of those involved. We look forward to the first progress report by the end of this month.
I wish to offer our sincere thanks to our Senior Coach Brad Gotch, whose contract finishes this year. Brad has given wonderful service to Westies over the past two seasons and we all wish him the very best as he embarks on the next phase of his career. When he first took on the role he told members that it would be a long journey before we started seeing consistent success. He asked us all to be patient as he worked on rebuilding the foundations of the playing group. I think we can say that our patience is starting to pay dividends and all the hard work that Gotchy invested in our footy has built a strong platform to underpin our efforts for the future. I know that everyone involved at Westies says a huge thanks to Brad and acknowledges the indelible mark he has made on our football, which will certainly carry us onto greater achievements in the years ahead.
A huge congratulations to our newly-appointed Senior Coach Adam Hartlett, who is already beginning the work of building his support network around him. Of course Adam is no stranger to anyone at the Club, with his long and distinguished record at Westies. He played a big part in guiding the Senior Men’s team to three wins at the end of 2022 season and it is fitting that he was the final candidate to be recommended to the Board for the Senior Coach role. I would like to thank the selection panel that undertook the arduous task of selecting and interviewing the applicants for the position – it was a lengthy process and we certainly had some highly credentialled applications. Adam’s appointment sets a pathway for a very exciting future at Westies.
It has been an incredibly busy few weeks during September and into October, with the oval being used for Adelaide Football League local finals, the AFL Masters National Carnival and the Fan Footy SA Breast Cancer Awareness game, as well as the highly successful Gala Auction and the Senior Men’s Best and Fairest Awards night in the Sturt Pea Room. These events, along with other regular social events in the Westies Venue and various private functions, have contributed to great patronage at the Club. I wish to express our gratitude to the CEO’s entire team who have worked so hard to put these events together. Every activity has been conducted with an extraordinary degree of care and professionalism, showcasing our Club to all those who have attended. I also thank all those who generously donated items to the Gala Auction and those who enthusiastically made bids, resulting in a record amount raised from any of our auctions.
With the adoption of the Club’s new and updated Constitution at the Special General Meeting this year, members approved three more positions be made available on the Board of Directors – namely two member-elected and one nominated. Tiandra Tamiaans and Chris Schmidt were subsequently appointed as member-elected and have already thrown themselves into their roles with great enthusiasm. The one remaining position to be filled was specified as “Female Football Director” and the Nominations Committee was charged with the task of calling for applications for that position. It is the first time that any SANFL club has appointed someone to this position and it highlights the importance that Westies places on Women’s footy. We are a foundation Club in this space, so it is logical that we would be the first to appoint someone to the Board to cover this position. I am pleased to announce that the Board has now accepted the recommendation of the Nominations Committee and appointed Alison Surjan as Female Football Director, effective immediately. Alison comes from a background which is deeply entrenched in football club culture and is a well-respected business professional. We look forward to her involvement in this exciting new path for our Club.
October is the last month of our financial year. It has been difficult to generate the gross profit required from the licenced club this year, due mainly to venue closures through lack of staff availability. This has meant that we will fall short of the funds required to pay for football activities again this financial year, so a consolidated loss will be disclosed in the financial statements. The results will also show that we have needed to spend considerable amounts to repair and update the clubrooms for safety purposes and business improvement. As usual, cash availability is under severe pressure and we are striving to conserve as much of it as possible through diligent management processes. It must be noted that this is the final year in which we will receive a land divestment dividend from SANFL, which will certainly improve the statutory trading result of the Club, but we have an enormous challenge next financial year as we find ways to trade without that cash injection. We are in the final stages of preparing the budget for next financial year and will be looking for much-improved revenue from the licenced club along with stringent expense controls right across the organisation.
You will have noticed the progress of the upgrade of the eastern side of the oval. It is certainly starting to take shape as a very attractive space for the local community to enjoy, as well as a prime spot from which to watch footy. The City of West Torrens has been under pressure to get the work completed on time but has been hampered by difficulties in the supply chain, meaning that play equipment, shelters, toilets and labour supplies have been delayed. We look forward to the completion of the project in the next few weeks. The next phase planned for the oval precinct redevelopment is already in the discussion stage. During September, representatives from Westies, the City of West Torrens and the Council design consultants toured several local sporting facilities to begin formulating design options for the western grandstand side of the oval. This is a long-term project and will require significant funding to bring it to completion. But it is essential that we bring our football facilities up to a standard that will cater for the increasing demands on club activities, including providing members and patrons the best in dining and social events as well as creating spaces for players and officials that are fit for purpose.
As in previous years, we will be holding a Member Forum event in the next few weeks. This has proven to be very popular in the past and is a great platform for members to ask questions of the Board and to provide valuable feedback. Please keep an eye out for notification of the date and time which will be published very soon.
Finally, just a reminder to get behind the Beech family as Jono and his brothers cycle 2,200 kms from the Gold Coast to Adelaide in November to raise funds to assist with the early detection of cancer. West Adelaide Football Club is right behind the event as a Gold Sponsor and we encourage all members to support this wonderful initiative. Just go to www.220fortammy.com to read all about it and lodge your donation.