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By Helen Tatchell

There is a new face at the helm of AFL Goldfields, Gerard Ryan.

Taking on the appointed role of Regional General Manager, a position held for the past 17-years by Darley resident Rod Ward, he is no stranger to the oval red ball.

Born and bred in Ballarat, Mr Ryan will return to his hometown with a huge amount of knowledge and experience from AFL Victoria, working for over 15-years in the VCFL and within the AFL Vic team in numerous roles, most recently as the Community Football Operations Manager where he has been at the forefront of all football operation decisions and guidance to all regions.

Mr Ryan may bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Goldfields region, but he told the Moorabool News he is not coming into the role with any preconceived actions.

“It will be a process of working with the AFL Goldfields Commission in consultation with the affiliated leagues and clubs of AFL Goldfields to determine what is working well within the region and if there are changes which are required, how they will be most smoothly implemented in the best interests of all.”

Mr Ryan said there is an AFL Goldfields Strategic Plan and individual league strategic plans in place which will continue to guide the direction in the short term and medium term for the region.

“The region includes some of the fastest growing populations within Victoria and this will be an important focus to ensure that there are sufficient football opportunities available for all who wish to play,” he said.

And does Mr Ryan see the Central Highlands Football League merging into the AFL Goldfields?

“Central Highlands FL and its member clubs are all affiliated to AFL Goldfields the same as each of the other member leagues are, and as with all of the leagues as independent bodies they have the ability to determine how they wish to be administered,” he said.
“If any of the leagues wish to discuss how its administration and partnerships with AFL Goldfields will look, these communications would be undertaken.”

Mr Ryan said at present there are no plans to alter the manner in which leagues within AFL Goldfields are administered.

Last Monday 7 October Mr Ryan began the transition into his new role.