Dear Members & supporters

It’s just over a fortnight since our Chairman David Koch announced that I was to become the next CEO of the Port Adelaide Football Club. Thank you to David and his Board for having the faith and confidence in me to lead the next exciting chapter for the Club.

I’d like to pay tribute and thank Keith Thomas for the incredible job he has done as CEO over the last nine years. He guided our Club through troubled waters early, prioritised football, ensured we arrived at Adelaide Oval in great shape, and built a business model which was sustainable.

As the new CEO, the contrast of the club we are today compared to when Keith started is not lost on me. The mark of any leader is to leave the organisation better than when you started, and KT has absolutely done that.

I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and well wishes from so many people since my appointment.

It feels as though I know many of you already, but there would be many who would also be unaware of my background.

I have learned Port Adelaide from the ground up.

I joined the Magpies as an envious ‘outsider’ in 2001, heading up the club’s marketing under CEO Paul Belton. My first major event was the Greatest Team of the Greatest Club gala, which for me was a wonderful crash course in the history of Port Adelaide, and I was intoxicated by it immediately. I had the ‘bug’ from that moment and it’s driven me ever since.

The expectation of success hit me between the eyes.

My first task that week was to book the Magarey Room at Football Park for Grand Final night and the Premiership celebration dinner …. yes, in February! It was a standing booking at the time, and given the Club had been there for 11 of the previous 14 years, it made sense to book ahead.

I have been fortunate to learn from many amazing Port Adelaide people, with some of the legends of the club becoming great mentors and friends who have been instrumental in shaping my journey so far.

From the legends, to the unsung heroes who’ve been here for more than 60 years, and most importantly our people, our members and fans, I’ve always been someone who wants to listen and that won’t change.

My journey at Port Adelaide has been a series of projects which, without knowing it at the time, have ultimately prepared me for this role now.

In 2004 I became CEO at the Magpies. I did not realize fully at the time the challenge I was stepping into. It was a battle for survival on every front. I’d never want to go back to that but I learned so much in that four years about running a club and business under extreme pressure - resilience, fight and just finding a way, the Port Adelaide way in reality. I had many great people around me who guided me and sacrificed a lot personally. If it weren’t for some of these people, the Club we have today would not be what it is.

In 2009 I moved to the Power to work with CEO Mark Haysman on a number of strategic projects, first of which was the proposed (at the time) move of Port Adelaide to Adelaide Oval.

The next was our “One Club” campaign to reunite the Power and the Magpies, which took two years and two attempts to finally convince the SANFL that uniting a fractured and confused Port Adelaide community was the solution to re-building the Club.

I’ve been fortunate to sit one back from KT through the period of transformational change where we surged past 60,000 members and took our club to Shanghai. I was fortunate to be able continue to learn and experience different aspects of the Club and AFL industry throughout this period.

And to now have the honor and privilege to be the CEO of this great Club, is a big responsibility but one I am well prepared for. The reality on reflection, is that Port Adelaide has prepared me, and now it’s time to make that count as we set about chasing greatness in the AFL era for Port Adelaide.

I have a strong understanding and belief of the expectations of Port Adelaide.

No-one brings that in, it’s something that’s in-built in the club and its people and comes from 150 years of excellence and success. To thrive at Port Adelaide, you have to embrace the expectation, and we will be ruthlessly focused on doing just that in every part of the football club.

A few people have asked, “what’s going to change”?

The reality is, most of the change happened as we navigated our way through 2020.

There has been a lot of change, but we also have great stability which is a key for success when you have the best people in place. Our football program team has done an outstanding job led by Ken Hinkley and Chris Davies. Our coaching group are locked in, our playing group just got better with Aliir and Orazio joining us and there is a special connection and drive in our playing group led by Tom Jonas, Ollie Wines and Hamish Hartlett. A special mention also to Jason Cripps, who has again done an outstanding job in building our list.

Off field, make no mistake, we have a big task to work through the financial impact of COVID-19 and it’s not just going to be a one or two year re-build. We’ve copped a serious flesh wound, but thanks to the unbelievable support of everyone, our members, our partners and our staff who sacrificed a lot also in 2020, we go into 2021 with great energy and momentum.

In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you our strategic framework, appropriately titled ‘chasing greatness’. It’s important that our whole club is engaged in and committed to this journey, and that includes our members, partners and all key stakeholders because we will all have a role to play.

Exciting news to come.

In the lead up to Christmas we are going to have some very exciting announcements to share with you.

The first of these announcements can be shared now. In January we will start stage one of the redevelopment of our social club, The Port Club at Alberton Oval. Port Adelaide has always prided itself on being a social club for its community and members. It’s why we were originally formed in 1870. The redevelopment will include an interactive museum where each of our 37 premierships will be honoured and celebrated. There will also be an expanded retail experience to enhance our range of merchandise options for our people. Later tonight we will reveal the details of this redevelopment with accompanying images.

I am so grateful to be chief executive of this wonderful club, a club that means so much to so many people. The responsibility is big, and I can assure you we will absolutely be embracing the expectations of Port Adelaide as we take that on.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.