Brett Connell – VAFA CEO
With Round 1 out of the way and Round 2 approaching before we break for Easter, it is a wonderful opportunity to welcome in some new people, partners and initiatives for 2019.
On the sponsorship front, Paul Wagland joined the team as our new Sponsorship Manager in February. While Paul’s main focus in the first half of the year is retention of existing sponsor/partners, his aims are also to connect clubs, sponsor/partners and the VAFA as we begin an exciting new journey focused on how we tackle our partnerships to the mutual benefit of all.
Fantastic news in the last fortnight has been the re-signing of William Buck as the VAFA’s Premium Partner for another three seasons. William Buck is synonymous with the VAFA, particularly its Premier sections across our women’s and men’s competitions, and their brand and values clearly align with the VAFA. We thank Lindsay Holloway (Managing Director) and all Directors at William Buck for their continued support.
While on the topic of sponsor partners, the addition of Holmesglen as a jumper partner for the next four years further strengthens our ties with the education provider and gives a wonderful opportunity for both organisations to build on a number of projects in terms of our club connection piece.
By far the biggest shift and new initiative for the VAFA in the off-season has been our move to RSN 927’s Carnival platform on a Saturday for our pre-game radio show and matchday broadcast.
96.5 Inner FM hosted the VAFA broadcast and other VAFA-focused programs for 22 years and their service and support of the VAFA was first class. The partnership benefited both organisations throughout the relationship, with many fond memories to boot.
While the change presented its challenges, particularly the timing of the decision, the VAFA is very confident the decision is in the best interests of our competition as a whole from a marketing, commercial and financial standpoint. There are numerous benefits to the change, none more so than the opportunity for reach, greater commercial opportunities for our clubs and moving to a digital platform.
The VAFA would publicly like to thank 96.5 Inner FM for their years of passionate VAFA support and wish RSN 927 all the very best in this exciting new venture.
New to our Football Operations team is Rebecca (Bec) Carter who comes with a wonderful CV, sporting background and some strong Amateur connections. Adding Bec in a part-time capacity allows our Footy Ops team, led by Sam Confait, to better manage the day to day in-season responsibilities that come from managing the single largest senior community competition in the country.
On an operations front, our venture into an U23 competition, stemming from club feedback, discussions and consultation, kicked off last week with success and we have also moved away from player signatures on team sheets and an improved match day app for clubs.
Last but not least, in an umpiring sense, we have formalised an exciting new partnership with the Yarra Junior Football League to assist in providing a pathway for young umpires into the VAFA.
New directions and initiatives present us all with challenges and unknowns. While change presents challenges on many fronts, it is how we react to the change that will be how we are ultimately remembered.
See you at the footy.