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Gillon McLachlan gets nod as AFL chief

Gillon McLachlan has played a pivotal role in the creation of the league's 17th and 18th clubs.

Gillon McLachlan has played a pivotal role in the creation of the league's 17th and 18th clubs. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

UPDATE: Gillon McLachlan has been announced as the AFL's new CEO at an 11am media conference.

Andrew Demetriou's last day in the job will be Thursday, June 5, the day after the AFL's Hall of Fame dinner. The AFL commission feels McLachlan does not need a lengthy transition into his new job due to his long service as the league's second in command.

The long-term deputy to Andrew Demetriou was anointed after the AFL Commission officially tested him last week against two other candidates.

Club chiefs Brian Cook and Brendon Gale are also understood to have presented to the full AFL board minus the outgoing Demetriou after an eight-week executive search by the league's headhunters failed to unearth an outstanding candidate from outside the industry.

A third club chief and former AFL executive David Matthews attended preliminary interviews but has chosen to commit for the long-term to the fledgling Greater Western Sydney.

Matthews is contracted to the AFL's newest club until the end of 2015 but his chairman Tony Shepherd will announce on Wednesday the 43-year-old former game development boss will be given a further contract extension with the Giants.

McLachlan has been hot favourite to become the AFL's new boss since he filled in for two months during 2012 while Demetriou went on long service leave. At the end of that year he knocked back the NRL's chief executive role and has been regarded by the game's governors as the rightful successor to the top job.

Although McLachlan and Demetriou have worked closely since both joined the AFL together almost exactly 14 years ago, the younger ascendant is expected to make significant changes to the league's structure and has also indicated the game could be headed for some cultural change.

Unlike Demetriou, McLachlan has not played the game at the highest level but joined the league as an amateur footballer with the University Blues. McLachlan, who grew up in South Australia, was also a committee member of that VAFA club.

McLachlan has played a pivotal role in the creation of the league's 17th and 18th clubs, the set up of the AFL's media department and has been integral to the AFL's ever-increasing broadcast reach and revenue. His most testing recent roles came when he was appointed the AFL's acting football boss to oversee the investigation and penalties into Melbourne's tanking claims and then last year in heading the negotiations with Essendon over its contentious and potentially illegal drugs program.

20 comments so far

  • And the boys club continues. #weneedchange

    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 9:54AM
    • Er, last time I looked, all the AFL Players were men, so it would stand to reason that the Head of the AFL would be a male.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 10:27AM
    • It's not the boys club. He has proven himself in all roles given to him in the past.

      Go Blues
      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 10:53AM
    • Well it's more like a North Korean handover from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un. I just watched the news conference and McLachlan is speaking and sounding just like Demetriou- it's very disturbing.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 11:10AM
  • More of the same!
    Time for a cleaning out of the cupboard and start all over again with a NEW team

    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 10:10AM
    • And a new team in Tassie.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 10:34AM
  • Any chance young Gill can give us Aussie Rules Footy back to the people ??

    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 10:27AM
    • No , Pete , sorry . This dude is serious upper-class money . He wouldn't have a clue how ordinary punters live and think , and he cares even less. This is just one step in an upward career path. It's the people's game no more . I believe his preferred sport is polo - says it all.

      rural NSW
      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 6:53PM
  • If something is broken, replace it with something that was made by the broken thing. Can't wait to see the disasters that come out of this appointment.

    Date and time
    April 30, 2014, 10:28AM
    • Wow - how can one family have so much talent?

      Good to see both Gill and Ham at the top of their respective games.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2014, 10:35AM

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      COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
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      ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
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      WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
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      GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
      STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
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      NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
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      GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
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      WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
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      Round 21
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      COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
      GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
      GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
      STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
      ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
      Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
      NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
      CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
      WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
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      Round 22
      Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
      GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
      Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
      GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
      HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
      NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
      ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
      GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
      Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
      ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
      STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
      FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
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      Round 23
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      RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
      Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
      GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
      BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
      PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
      HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
      SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
      WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
      Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
      MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
      COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
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      Round 24
      Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
      WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
      Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
      FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
      WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
      Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
      RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
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      Round 25
      Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
      HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
      Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
      SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
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      Round 26
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      FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
      Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
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      Round 27
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      HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
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      AFL 2015
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      West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
      Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
      Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
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