President’s Message to Members and Supporters – August 2019
Greetings to all members and supporters. I am pleased to update you with the latest information about Westies and its activities.
Our CEO Ben Hopkins and I addressed the senior players on Wednesday evening (31st July) to make sure that they received a clear and positive message from the board about the current status of and future plans for our club. We wanted to make sure that the players, each and every one, knew that we support them fully and that we have great belief in the success that is just around the corner for the playing group. I explained that the club has many departments and that we are seeing success emerging in some of them already this year. For example, progress continues to be made with the venue improvement plan and we will be in a position soon to announce those details once local council have finalised their deliberations. Additionally, we are still forging strong relationships with sponsors, and have plans to ensure that they are part of our success while at the same time building support for their businesses. Also, we are making progress in improving the financial situation of the club and are having some (albeit small) successes in that area. Of course, as I’ve stated before, financial success is critical to us being able to afford to break the bonds of a restricted salary cap, which is why the board is so focussed on repairing the financial performance of the club. I pointed out to the players that success can be found in many of our endeavours – just look around. Success breeds success. On-field success will follow as part of our overall successes. The address to the players was also an opportune moment to let them know that the board has enormous faith in Gavin’s ability to steer the side to successful outcomes in the future, and that negotiations are currently taking place to secure Gavin’s tenure for next season and beyond. We hope to make an announcement about this very soon. Ben and I plan to meet with the players regularly, after each board meeting, to make sure they hear from the directors. I believe it is an important part of the future of our club.
The bye weekend just gone could not have come at a better time. From a senior football point of view, our injury list has blown out with season ending injuries to Jono Beech, Josh Schiller, Brett Turner, Jack Evans, Tom Pillion, James Bentley, Jayden Klemke, Dustin Head and Cooper Patterson.
This has given opportunity to others to make their league debuts including under 18 player, Riley Thilthorpe, Kyle Kirk, Nigel Osborn, Sam May, Connor and Patrick Fairlie. Our development team currently sits in 5th position with a game in hand to complete the round this coming Sunday. So, we are hopeful of consolidating a place in the finals. The under 18 team currently sits in second position and they play the top team Eagles this Saturday at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. They should go deep into the finals series. It is pleasing to see the success that Will Snelling and John Noble have achieved since being taken in the mid-season draft. Will was second best for Essendon v Port Adelaide on the weekend. Their selection reinforces the continued success of our Football Development Program.
Congratulations to Maddie Newman for being selected in the NAB AFL Women’s under 18 All Australian team and Will Day who had been invited to the AFL Draft Combine. Our Recruiting Committee and their network have been working for some time to identify talent locally and interstate to bolster our playing depth for next season.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank every member of the committees that operate under the guidance of our board. In particular, the various football committee members invest many hours building strong footy foundations under our club. Also, the marketing and sponsorship committee has been very active making sure we engage with our sponsors, as well as beginning the plans for a membership drive. It is critical to our success that we have a real focus on expanding the number of members in the club.
I mentioned in my last message that the board will be focussed on a strategic planning process. This is of particular importance to the club, because it’s imperative that our three-year plan is locked in place and becomes our blueprint for long-term growth and stability. A lot of time has already been invested in this process by the governance committee, and the first stage of the plan will be finalised and documented on Friday 9th August at a meeting of directors. We will then be in a position to share our future direction strategies at a meeting with SANFL to be held late in September. I know that SANFL is very invested in making sure our club thrives well into the future, so this meeting is of extreme importance to us in ensuring that we continue the great relationship that we currently have with SANFL.
We have many challenges ahead of us. So it’s important that you, the members and supporters, continue to provide your constructive feedback and comments so we can review our progress. I have really enjoyed chatting face to face with several of you at club functions, particularly at the after-game presentations, and I encourage you to interact with me as often as you can. For those who I don’t get a chance to meet personally, I am happy to receive emails at my club email address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you know that the club’s official facebook page is readily accessible from our website and is regularly updated by the club, supporters and members. This provides a fantastic forum for open discussion and comments by all interested parties, as well as keeping everyone up to date with upcoming events. Accordingly, the old “forum” link on the website will be replaced by a more prominent link to the official facebook page as from Monday 12th August. This doesn’t mean that the old forum will disappear altogether – it can still be accessed via its web address for those who wish to continue using it.
Thanks very much for taking the time to read this report. I look forward to catching up with you in the weeks ahead.