Andrew Newbold set to join AFL Commission

Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold is poised to join the AFL Commission as a potential replacement for commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

Newbold, who announced this week he was standing down as Hawks president immediately, is understood to be among a short list of candidates to have met recruiters from Egon Zender as well as several commissioners and AFL presidents this week.

Outgoing Hawks president Andrew Newbold: Poised to join the AFL Commission.
Outgoing Hawks president Andrew Newbold: Poised to join the AFL Commission. Photo: Pat Scala

There are two vacancies on the commission this year with Chris Langford due to step down in March and long-term commissioner Sam Mostyn expected to depart later in the year.

Langford was to step down last year but was convinced by Fitzpatrick to remain for a further 12 months after fellow commissioner Linda Dessau left the AFL to become Victorian governor.

Newbold was in his final year of his term as president this year and had already indicated to those inside the Hawks in recent years that he would go when he informed them on Tuesday of his decision to stand down as president.

The decision to wait until this year and not depart at the last annual general meeting was understood to have been strongly influenced by the preference to give successor Richard Garvey a clear year to be established in the job before an election.


The commission has been keen for someone with club experience and, having been involved with the growth of Hawthorn into a power of the AFL in his 11 years on their board, he is an attractive candidate.

Newbold has been popular with the AFL commission with engagement on team equalisation and stadiums. He went on a fact-finding trip to New York with the AFL on equalisation and had significant input into the debate.

Fitzpatrick has not indicated as yet when he intends to end his term as chairman but is expected to go before the end of next year at the latest,

It is understood he had considered stepping down previously but with the Essendon supplements saga dragging on and Andrew Demetriou leaving as chief executive he wanted to maintain stability.

The most natural successor to Fitzpatrick on the commission at the moment is Richard Goyder but as managing director of Wesfarmers, it is highly doubtful he would have the time to commit to the job at this point. Whether that would chang if Fitzpatrick remained through next season is unknown.

Lawyer Paul Bassat has impressed on the commission but has no club experience. Neither does the commission's most recent appointee Major General Simone Wilkie. 

Former player Jason Ball is not regarded as a likely successor and Kim Williams joined the commission with a specific skill set to assist in broadcasting but would not be likely to become chairman.

Dessau was regarded as a potential successor until she left for the governorship.

Retired Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes has been touted as a future commissioner but it is considered premature for him to join the commission now.