CANBERRA administrator Steven Mahar is the new boss of AFL in the Riverina as he prepares to take charge of a new football landscape.
Jason McPherson’s shock resignation from the AFL this week has made away for a number of changes, with the biggest being the merger of the Southern NSW and ACT-South Coast regions.
Mahar, who has been the boss of ACT-South Coast, will now take on McPherson’s position as well under a new ACT-Southern NSW banner.
A number of other changes are set to take place at the AFL NSW-ACT’s Wagga office that are expected to be finalised by March.
AFL NSW-ACT football operations and regions manager Darren Simpson has assured the Riverina football community that the region will be no worse off under the restructure.
“There’s been a lot of due diligence done, we’ve looked at other jurisdictions, we’ve looked at the personnel we’ve actually got in place, we’ve looked at the pathways we can create for our staff, in terms of giving people more responsibility in this region and then feeding up to higher roles in our own organisation,” Simpson said.
“So it’s going to be a lot about building the right structures underneath, but when you look at a guy like Jason at the moment, when he deals with the guys in the Northern Riverina, he deals with them on the phone, well that’s not going to be any different to Steven Mahar dealing with them on the phone.
“It’s a little bit about perception, if people want to perceive it to be a bad thing and to say we’re losing a regional manager, well then it’s very difficult to change someone’s perception but our actions will define how successful this is.
“We’re very committed to the region, as a whole, to Southern NSW because it is our heartland area of football in this state and we want to make sure that continues.”
As one position goes, a new media marketing role with be introduced in the region, while the existing structures in both Southern NSW and ACT-South Coast are being reviewed.
Mahar, four-time premiership player and Mulrooney Medallist at Belconnen, is looking forward to the role.
“It’s a bit daunting but it excites me because this success that Southern NSW have had...I’d love to be involved in.
“To be able to take some of that and share it with Canberra and South Coast too, and vice versa, there’s probably some efficiencies we can bring to Southern NSW as well.
“It’s a great opportunity. It also excites me how passionate the area is.”