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2019 Movers and Shapers: 50-41


The 2019 Movers and Shapers Survey has moved to

Crocmedia/AFL Record senior writer Ashley Browne has surveyed the footy industry – administrators, players, managers and media – to establish the definitive list of the most influential people in the game.

It’s the list those on it claim to pay no attention to, but are secretly thrilled to get a guernsey.

We start the countdown with those from 50 to 41 and it features some groundbreaking broadcasters, a veteran coach, the most powerful West Australian in the game and a former “mad scientist in shorts”.

50. Outer Sanctum podcast

Last year: –
Before that: –

It stands to reason that as the presence of women in football grows, so too does their media presence.

Nicole Hayes, Alicia Sometimes, Emma Race, Lucy Race, Felicity Race and Kate Seear started their podcast in 2017, talking mainly, but not exclusively, about AFLW and by 2018 were appearing weekly on the ABC.

Knowledgeable and passionate about footy, they nevertheless examine the game through a different and necessary lens. It was the Outer Sanctum podcast that sparked the widespread debate about attitudes to women in the game following Eddie McGuire’s remarks about Caroline Wilson in 2017.

49. Chris Scott

Geelong senior coach

Last year: 32
Before that: –

Only Alastair Clarkson has been in the same job longer among senior coaches, although John Longmire started with the Swans the same year. He won a flag in 2011 in his first year and has kept Geelong competitive every season, although the Cats are coming off a disappointing eighth-place finish last year.

A great footy conversationalist, Scott understands the big picture more than most and has influence beyond Geelong because of his strong friendship with AFL CEO Gill McLachlan and having worked alongside football boss Steve Hocking at the Cats for several years. Add to that his weekly appearance on AFL 360, which further ensures an audience for his views on the game.

“He should be ranked higher,” said one leading media identity. What is interesting is that Chris made this list ahead of twin brother Brad, who has been a senior coach for one year longer and is a member of the new and influential AFL Competition Committee.

23GeGC18SB1544 Geelong coach Chris Scott makes the list at 49

48. Tom Harley

Sydney Swans chief executive

Last year: –
Before that: –

The 2007 and 2009 Geelong premiership captain has big shoes to fill as he takes over from the legendary Andrew Ireland. But he has been impeccably groomed for the role, captaining Geelong to a pair of premierships and working as chief executive of AFL NSW/ACT before heading up footy operations with Sydney.

The masters at succession planning, the Swans identified Harley as CEO material and have been preparing him accordingly.

First item on his agenda is planning the move into the new headquarters at the nearby Hall of Industries and generally keeping the Swans as successful as they are in both the AFL and the super competitive Sydney sports landscape.

47. Trevor Nisbett

West Coast chief executive

Last year: –
Before that: 40 (2016), 50 (2017)

The West Coast icon – he has spent 20 years as chief executive, having served a decade as football manager before that – might be going out with a bang.

Having already flagged this year could well be his last, he can reflect on an extraordinary final act that included the wildly successful switch to the gleaming new Optus Stadium for all home games, the surprise 2018 flag and the soon-to-be-completed move to a new training and administrative base at Lathlain Park.

“He can spend this year sitting back and counting all the money the club is making,” said one AFL executive. There might be more prominent West Australians in the game, such as AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder, but Nisbett’s contribution to the game in the state is unsurpassed.

46. Damian Barrett

Journalist and broadcaster

Last year: –
Before that: 31 (2017)

Out Crocmedia and The Footy Show, in AFL Media.

One of the leading football journalists for many years, he is now the face of and will play a leading role with breaking news, analysis and feature interviews. He will also feature in the AFL Record and will continue his association with Triple M, the Sunday Footy Show (having ditched the Thursday night edition) and The Sounding Board podcast which he co-hosts with his old boss Craig Hutchison.

He is one of the pre-eminent news breakers and it’s always an anxious moment for the game’s big names when his number appears on their telephone. But regulars to his podcast will know he is no beat-up merchant and he works and fact checks diligently before he runs with a big story.

damian barrett Damian Barrett is now the face of

45. Debbie Lee

Western Bulldogs head of women’s football

Last year: –
Before that: –

There isn’t much in the women’s game that Lee hasn’t been part of and, as she’ll tell you, there were some dim, dark days early on when women players were considered the circus freaks of the game. Thankfully that’s all history and Lee is one of the influencers of AFLW.

“There was no-one more happy when it launched and no person more responsible, though most of Deb’s heavy-lifting has been largely behind the scenes so has not been heralded as loudly as the work of other women’s footy champions,” said one AFLW figurehead.

A former president of the Victorian women’s competition, she headed up Melbourne’s program in the inaugural year of AFLW before being head-hunted to the Western Bulldogs in the same role last season, which ended in a flag for the Dogs. She coached the Victorian State of Origin team last season and also serves on the AFLW Competition Committee.

W05CoWB18MW0061 Debbie Lee is one of the AFLW's major influencers

44. Nicole Livingstone

AFL head of women’s football

Last year: 31
Before that: –

The titular head of the women’s game at AFL headquarters.

The former Olympic swimmer is as talented a sports administrator as she was an athlete and, after a tough initiation last year when she had to try and explain the ‘attractive play’ memo that was sent to the eight clubs, she has become known for her hard work and ability to engage with key stakeholders at all levels of the game.

And with the possible exception of Gill McLachlan, there is no AFL senior manager more accomplished in front of the camera, which is critically important in this area of the 15-second soundbite and to sell the new ‘GenW’ messaging.

43. Xavier Campbell

Essendon chief executive

Last year: –
Before that: –

The Bombers boss is one of footy’s rising stars off the field and has earned rave reviews for his work in restoring lustre to the club and removing the stain of the supplements scandal.

He was on a hiding to nothing when he started, but has overcome all sorts of obstacles and has the place buzzing again. “He kept the spirits up and morale high, and he made time for everyone,” said one observer. “He got everyone back on the same page.”

Essendon is now a destination club and players such as Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel chose the Bombers ahead of various other suitors. It was reported the meeting at an Elwood café with Essendon’s leadership group swayed Shiel to move to Essendon at the end of last season, but Campbell was instrumental in getting the club to the head of the queue in the first instance.

Xavier Campbell John Worsfold Xavier Campbell has restored the lustre at Essendon

42. Ken Wood

AFL Manager TPP assurance and advice

Last year: 38
Before that: 39 (2016), 34 (2017)

AFL House has enjoyed a refit in the past couple of years, with open plan areas, couches, lounge chairs and even standing desks for those who do. But not Wood and his team, located in a secure area of their own in the League’s version of Fort Knox.

And given the ultra-confidential information that crosses his desk, it has to be that way.

The salary cap remains the AFL’s most fundamental equalisation measure, but the football department soft cap is catching up, hence Wood’s key role in the game. No major player deal gets signed without a tick from him.

41. David Rath

AFL coaching innovation and education manager

Last year: –
Before that: –

One of Steve Hocking’s firm beliefs when he took over as head of football at the AFL was that the League was behind the curve when it came to footy IP. The innovators and the deep thinkers were all working for the clubs.

Within a few months that had changed and the League’s Docklands headquarters were full of footy boffins, headed by Rath, a biomechanist who was Alastair Clarkson’s “mad scientist in shorts” between 2005 and 2017 when the Hawks won four premierships.

“If Steve Hocking has the final say on what footy looks like, he’s heavily informed by Rath,” said one observer.

One AFL coach who sat in on a session with Rath recently was blown away by his depth of knowledge.

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Ashley Browne

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