With our first match of the season taking place tomorrow against the Knights in Newcastle (6pm), I thought it was a great time to thank everyone for their support and to take some time to recap on some of the great news coming out of the Club in recent times.
Casting my mind back to February, we were able to run our first ever ‘remote’ AGM via Zoom. This took a great deal of work from many parties, including staff at the Bulldogs and the Canterbury League Club, and I’d like to thank all involved for helping to make this happen. The meeting ran very smoothly with great input from our Members and included a live update from Trent Barrett on his first pre season at our Club.
On the back of the AGM, we welcomed new Chief Executive, Aaron Warburton, back to Belmore. As many of you would know, Aaron comes with tremendous commercial experience that includes being the driving force behind the highest revenue growth in the Club’s history and playing a significant leadership role in helping the Club achieve strategic priorities around membership and community involvement.
Aaron then went on to found his own sports sponsorship company and, with the backing of Qantas, launched a fan engagement start-up which coupled with his extensive sporting experience, made him a unanimous choice as CEO following an extensive recruitment process.
Aaron’s appointment was quickly followed by a decision to bring Peter Sharp on board as our new Recruitment Manager. Peter has extensive experience in the game at all levels including being a former Head Coach and will be a tremendous asset for our Club in regard to making sure that wecontinue to bring a high calibre of players to this Club, and in doing so, ensuring this is done on an ongoing and sustainable basis, with a focus on our pathways.
A major part of that area will involve our local juniors and it has been pleasing to note that our SG Ball side has led the way this season with an undefeated record. What has been most noteworthy about that is the fact that most of the side are from local junior clubs, which is great news in what is the 100 Year Anniversary of our local Junior League competition. In further great news, our junior league ‘sign up’ numbers are up 20% compared to the same time last year, despite the challenges presented by COVID.
We were then able to launch the season in style at Doltone House with players, staff, sponsors, media and guests mingling in a great atmosphere as we introduced our Top 30 squad for the year, in addition to hearing from Trent Barrett about his thoughts for season 2021. During the evening, we were also able to unveil our two new kit sponsors in On Solar and I’m In The Right, which is a great commercial outcome for our Club as we have now finalised all of our sponsorship opportunities in regard to our playing kit for season 2021, including our Ball Boys!
In another great Board initiative, we have launched our first ever “Bulldogs Business Club”, which is a fantastic business to business networking group that will provide significant commercial opportunities for our business members moving forward. We welcome all of the businesses to the Bulldogs family and look forward to the continued growth of the network.
Finally, in regard to our stadium options moving forward we are still in discussion with both State and Federal Government around potential options and we will keep you informed of any developments. As with all these major topics we will make sure that you are the first to know regarding any decisions that are made.
All that is left now is to wish Trent, his staff, Josh and all the players the best of luck leading into the season. Knowing how much hard work has gone in over the past few months, I’m excited about what lies ahead and the growth opportunities that still exist.
As we know none of this is possible without your continued passion and support for this great Club.
We thank you for that and look forward to a great 2021!