Dear Happy Hawkers,

Trust this finds you all well.

For those of us who have been living under lockdowns and restrictions it has been good to be able to travel, eat at restaurants and generally mix with family and friends. May it long continue, and into next year when we can all assemble again at football matches around the country.

Two things to report today.

Firstly, the AFL has agreed to support Hawthorn’s building of the Kennedy Community Centre, KCC. The AFL notified our CEO Justin Reeves, so we thank the AFL Commission and Executive for recognising the value of our development at Dingley. I too thank Justin and his team in continuing to work with the AFL and our partners to achieve this outcome. Another great example of how closely and well we work with the AFL to the benefit of the club.

Over the last year we have now received financial commitment from all tiers of government; Federal, State, Municipal being the Kingston Council and now the AFL. We continue to work hard to deliver the new facility in 2023 which will not only be to the benefit of the Hawthorn Football Club but the local community.

Preparation of the site was held up again because of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria which are now behind us, and we are back on site.

Board member Tim Shearer who heads our Foundation continues with his team to raise funds for the completion of the KCC. Tim is up for re-election to the Board with the papers going out to you by the 19th of November with the Notice of the Annual General Meeting. As Tim has received the unanimous support of the Board to continue his work having only joined the Board three years ago, could you please seriously consider giving him your support so we can keep building the KCC.

There will be two vacancies for the Board so exercise your judgement on the other position, but Tim’s return to the Board is essential.

The second matter I wish to raise is to do with the appointment of my successor as President.

I was asked to return to the Presidency of the club by the previous Board in 2017 to address some issues that were causing concern. It was my intention to only stay for one term of three years. Then COVID-19 struck us all, and I was asked to stay to guide the club and the competition through COVID when I was a member of the AFL’s “War Cabinet”.

I was therefore re-elected unopposed last year for a three-year term which concludes at the end of 2023.

One year in, and hopefully with no COVID-19 restrictions next year, and the club is in the best position it could possibly be with a small financial surplus on our football operations. This year we have had our second highest membership ever, and a full book of quality sponsors who have all recently recommitted. We have secured our AFLW licence, commenced the construction of the Kennedy Community Centre, renewed our Affiliation Agreement with the Box Hill Hawks for a further five years, and our new Senior Coach Sam Mitchell and his coaching team are working with a very excited playing group. Never has the club been in such good shape.

So, the time has come for the Board to start the process of my succession and your next President.

More recently the Board has acted as the Nomination Committee in identifying and recommending to members its next President and Board members. Such recommendation of course never stopped other people interested in standing for the Presidency or a Board position from doing so.

Your Board has again unanimously decided to adopt a different procedure, one that exists in most companies. That is to establish a Nominations Committee.

It will be made up of Board and non-Board members. Its terms of reference will be decided by the Board and those on the committee. Its membership will be finalised after the AGM in December, so they can commence their work in the New Year. We will require the Committee to make its final recommendation of their preferred candidate to the Board by 30 June next year.

On the agreement of the Board of their recommendation, and the acceptance of the nominee, and his or her availability to commence work, we will then decide when I hand over the baton. 

So, life is about changes and opportunities, and with our new coach, the club in such a good and strong position to move into 2022.

Now is the right time to plan my succession and transition in an orderly way. We are starting that process now.

I wish you all well, and hope to connect with you at the AGM.

Stay well and safe.