Gold Coast chair Tony Cochrane moves to BLOCK 'Victoria-centric' Tigers boss from AFL's top job

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Gold Coast Suns chair Tony Cochrane moves to BLOCK ‘Victoria-centric’ Richmond Tigers boss Brendon Gale from the AFL’s top job just days after Gillon McLachlan announced he would stand down at season’s end

  • Gale is one of the leading contenders for the AFL chief executive role
  • He was a key figure in turning around the Tigers and turning them into a force
  • Cochrane reportedly fears Gale won’t look after clubs outside of Victoria 
  • The Gold Coast chair refused to comment on his alleged campaign against Gale 

Let the drama and politics commence. Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane has already moved the first chess piece in the process of finding the new AFL boss, looking to block Richmond CEO from getting the top job. 

Gillon McLachlan announced that he would stand down at the end of the season in an emotional address to media on Tuesday.  

The Age has reported that Cochrane has contacted the CEO of every non-Victorian club in a controversial campaign that kicked off the day after McLachlan’s announcement.

Suns Chairman Tony Cochrane is reportedly opposed to Richmond Tigers CEO Brendon Gale becoming the new AFL chief executive

Suns Chairman Tony Cochrane is reportedly opposed to Richmond Tigers CEO Brendon Gale becoming the new AFL chief executive

Cochrane is understood to have concerns over how Gale would approach the role an fears he would be too Victoria-centric.  

Cochrane was tight-lipped when asked about his move to speak to rival, non-Victorian clubs 

‘I don’t discuss presidents’ business with the media. I have no comment to make to the media relating to presidents’ matters and I’m not going to start now,’ he said.  

Gale has just signed a three-year extension at Punt Road and president Peggy O’Neal also put forward his claims and admitted the AFL would be ‘duty bound’ to talk the highly regarded CEO.

‘He is a very talented person, he is very smart, he always has the view of the many stakeholders you have to balance. Brendon is great in all those things you would want in a CEO and he has given us wonderful service and everyone acknowledges how talented he is or we wouldn’t be talking about him this way,’ she told The Age.

Gale is one of the leading contenders to replace Gillon McLachlan, although there are plenty of strong candidates vying to become the new AFL CEO.

Gale is one of the leading contenders to replace Gillon McLachlan, although there are plenty of strong candidates vying to become the new AFL CEO. 

It comes after Tigers coach Damian Hardwick already started pressing Gale’s claims for the AFL chief executive position this week.

‘Brendon’s a star, in my opinion,’ Hardwick said.

‘Whatever Brendon puts his mind to, he’s going to succeed.

‘He is an aspirational leader, which I love. I love working for him here.

‘He’s been such a strong supporter of our football department and our club in general.

‘I’m sure the AFL will have a very, very good look at him, but I reckon they will struggle to find a better man than Brendon Gale.’

McLachlan leaves the AFL in great shape, having rode the waves of the Covid pandemic and also fast-tracking the AFLW competition

McLachlan leaves the AFL in great shape, having rode the waves of the Covid pandemic and also fast-tracking the AFLW competition

Gale is not the only man in the running for the job, with AFL CFO Travis Auld, AFL general manager of football Andrew Dillon and Foxtel Group boss Patrick Delaney in the mix as well. 

The next AFL CEO could be a woman for the first time as well, with leading candidates for the position including Bulldogs president Kylie Watson-Wheeler, former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate, AFL executive general manager customer and commercial Kylie Rogers and Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka firmly in the running.

While Cochrane would not be drawn on his stance against Gale’s lobbying for the top job, he did pay tribute to outgoing CEO McLachlan. 

 ‘Gillon has done an outstanding job. He can take credit for the growth of the game throughout our country and he and his executive team can particularly take a lot of credit for the growth of the game over the past three year,’

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