Goulburn Valley products are not only prominent on the AFL field, but are weaving their way up higher into the administration of the game’s governing body.
Former Tatura and Nagambie player Rob Auld is moving up the ranks at the AFL as the newly-appointed head of game development, having spent the past 18 months as AFL Tasmania’s chief executive.
The opportunity to rise came through another internal appointment, with Mooroopna’s Grant Williams taking up the role as head of umpiring.
Auld said it was fantastic to see the region well represented at league headquarters, as his brother Travis continues in his position as general manager of clubs and operations.
He noted the coincidence that his new position became available after another Goulburn Valley export in Williams also moved up.
‘‘I think there’s a little bit of irony (in that situation), (but it’s pleasing) that the Goulburn Valley footprint on senior roles in the AFL is so high,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s (Travis) a couple of steps further up the ladder to me, but I’ve got my eye on him,’’ Auld added with a laugh.
Auld’s new role includes managing state programs, overseeing coaching innovation and diversity initiatives, as well as a small part in developing the Australian game overseas.
‘‘I think the game itself is at a real exciting phase. A couple of things are evidence of that, with the female growth of football and society is more multicultural,’’ he said.
‘‘I see a really good opportunity stepping up the quality of coach development, which works to the diversity and female aspects as we educate coaches. (International development of the game) is a small part, and I don’t want to overplay it, but I’ll help, not drive, to grow the game internationally.’’
Auld moved to Tasmania in June 2016 when he took up the role overseeing football in the state.
But he said he was ready to continue to take the next steps in his administrative career, despite having anticipated he would be living on the Apple Isle for longer.
‘‘I probably thought I’d be here (in Tasmania) for closer to three years rather than 18 months, but opportunities are a bit ignorant of the calender and they come up when they come up, so I’m grateful for the chance to keep working in the industry,’’ he said.
Some of the duties of Auld’s new role have already started, although he will not be based in Melbourne full-time until February 19.
The changeover of leadership in Tasmania came a day before Burnie announced it would join Devonport in not fielding a Tasmanian State League team this season.
Williams has moved into the umpiring department, where he will be responsible for the recruitment and development of match officials across all levels.