SANFL & AFL Club Development Forum

The SANFL  & AFL Club Development Forum is a half-day summit designed to empower club officials to build, develop and grow the sustainability of local football clubs and communities.

We are pleased to partner with the AFL to deliver an event free of charge for our football community as part of Gather Round.

Registrations are open to community league and club volunteers, including committee members and coaches.


Key Event Information

Saturday 15 April

8:30am to 1:30pm

William Magarey Room, Adelaide Oval

Registrations and morning tea from 8:30am on the Southern Concourse (Entry Via South Gate Only)

Presentations commence at 9:00am sharp

Light networking lunch and drinks to be provided following the presentations

Registration is FREE and includes a ticket to the Saturday Gather Round Double Header @ Adelaide Oval.

Tickets will be distributed at the event.
Essendon vs Melbourne (3:40pm) | Port Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs (7:20pm)

Registration is online, via the form at the bottom of the page.


Time Main Room Breakout 1 Breakout 2
8:30am Registration and Morning Tea
9:00am to 9:15am Welcome - Darren Chandler
9:15am to 9:45am AFL Coach Q&A - Adam Kingsley
9:45am to 10:15am Rebounding from COVID - Walter Lee
10:15am to 10:50am Concussion and Community Football - Stephen Meade Facilities and Local Government - Shayne Ward Participation - James Ceely
11:50am to 11:25am Diverse and Inclusive Environments - Tanya Hosch Umpiring - Lisa Lawry Club of the Future – Data Driven Insights & Social Media Marketing - Elisa Koch and Clare Dale
11:25am to 11:40am Break
11:40am to 12:00pm Women and Girls Action Plan - Debbie Lee
12:00pm to 12:30pm Leading an AFL Club and Principles that Transfer to Community Football - Matthew Richardson
12:30pm to 1:00pm AFL Coach Q&A - Ross Lyon
1:00pm to 1:15pm Industry Challenges and Opportunities - Rob Auld
1:15pm to 2:15pm Networking Lunch & Drinks


Darren Chandler

Chief Executive Officer

Darren Chandler returned to SANFL at the end of 2020 in following a stint as the General Manager Operations and Commercial at Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority, a position he held for eight years.

Prior to this he was SANFL’s General Manager of Football and Corporate Operations (2009-2012), and CEO of Glenelg Football Club (2002-2008).

His longstanding career in football first began in game development, playing a major role in the introduction of the Auskick program in South Australia. He subsequently moved into key management roles within SANFL overseeing game development, the State League competition and country leagues before progressing to the leadership role at Glenelg.

Stephen Meade

General Manager Legal & Regulatory

Stephen joined the AFL in 2017 and oversees Legal, Safeguarding, Risk (Insurance, OH&S and Risk & Compliance) and Concussion for the AFL.

Stephen has significant experience in legal practice across commercial disputes and dispute resolution.


Shayne Ward

Head of Facilities, State & Local Government

Shayne is the Head of Facilities, State and Local Government at the AFL.

In this role, he leads a team that aims to implement Towards 2030, Australian Football’s National Infrastructure Plan in partnership with government and other bodies.

He has worked in the AFL industry for 14 years, and before that he worked in leadership roles within both State and Local Government, including 8 years at Sport and Recreation Victoria leading their sports infrastructure and planning unit.

He possesses an MBA qualification and a Degree in Recreation Management.

Away from work, he loves volunteering in community sport and watching and supporting his children in their many and varied sporting pursuits.

James Ceely

Head of Participation & Programs

James currently oversees the strategy and delivery of participation in Australia and international markets for Auskick, schools and diversity.

James previously worked for AFL NSW/ACT across participation, community football and competitions from 2004 to 2012, as well as a seven year stint at the Australian Sports Commission before he re-joined the AFL in his current role in 2020.

Walter Lee

Executive General Manager Strategy

Appointed to the AFL Executive in March 2017. Walter leads teams responsible for strategic planning, technology and data analytics at the AFL.

Walter is responsible for driving the overall strategy of the AFL and managing strategic investments in the competition’s expansion and growth.

Walter is closely involved in the AFL Broadcast and Media Rights Agreements, AFL Players Collective Bargaining Agreements and Competitive Balance and Club Funding models.

In his broader role, he is overseeing the ongoing transformation of technology, data and analytics across the AFL and Clubs.

Prior to the AFL, he worked globally across the resources, government, communications and technology sectors. Walter is currently serves as a board member of sports data and technology businesses, Champion Data and PlayHQ.

Walter holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with Melbourne Business School and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Tanya Hosch

Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy

Tanya Hosch has a long and distinguished history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, advocacy, governance and is an accomplished public speaker.

Before joining the AFL as the first ever Indigenous person and second woman in their Executive ranks in August 2016, Tanya was the Joint Campaign director of the Recognise movement for constitutional recognition. At the AFL Tanya’s portfolios include – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, Gender Equality, Sexuality and Gender Diversity, racism and sexism.

Tanya is tasked with the implementation of the AFL’s enhanced Indigenous strategy, advising the AFL National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, maintenance of the Respect and Responsibility Policy, 2017, and the Gender Diversity Policy.

Lisa Lawry

General Manager Umpiring

Lisa Lawry was appointed to the position of General Manager Umpiring in July 2022. Lisa has served on the AFL Executive as Acting Executive General Manager People, and previously held position of General Manager People and Culture at Essendon Football Club, where she was a member of the Executive leadership team since 2014.

Lisa has been part of the AFL’s GenW Executive Women’s Talent Program and brings more than twenty years’ senior leadership experience across human resources, culture transformation, diversity and inclusion, employee wellbeing, talent and leadership development and building high-performance teams.  Lisa holds a bachelors and post graduate qualifications in Human Resources/Industrial Relations and a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology.

Elisa Koch

Head of Data & Analytics

Elisa has twenty years of experience in data and analytics starting in the USA.

She has worked with some of the largest and most prestigious brands in Australia, most recently at the AFL. Elisa also completed an MBA from both Columbia and London Business School.

As an analytics leader, she seeks to inspire customer-focused action through measurement and data-driven storytelling.

Clare Dale

Head of Game Development Engagement

Clare leads the Game Development Engagement team, which oversees all the customer touchpoints (including marketing, communications, platforms, and websites) for community football and game development nationally.

Clare has extensive strategic marketing experience working within blue chip organisations, state & national sporting bodies, agencies and professional services firms. She has deep commercial and marketing communications experience creating strategies for both business to consumer and business to business brands.

Debbie Lee

National Women and Girls Action Plan Lead

Debbie Lee joined the AFL in 2022 from the Western Bulldogs, where she had been General Manager of Women’s Football since 2017. Lee has made an incredible contribution to the game over a long period and was recognised for her trailblazing achievements when she became the first woman to be inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

Lee’s playing career spanned 302 Victorian Women’s Football League games and included five competition best-and-fairest awards, seven club best-and-fairests and 16 state games for Victoria (six as captain), plus extensive off-field involvement and accomplishments across community and elite football.

Matthew Richardson

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Richardson has been at the club since 2001 starting as Marketing Manager of the Magpies in the SANFL and then progressing to CEO from 2004 to 2009.

In 2009, Mr Richardson joined the Power as General Manager of Marketing and Consumer Business and was promoted in 2017 to Executive General Manager.

In 2010 Mr Richardson headed up the club’s strategic campaign to unite Port Adelaide as One Club, bring the Magpies in the SANFL and Power in the AFL together.

This led to the official reunification of the Port Adelaide Football Club which was a catalyst to the club’s record 60,000 plus members in 2015.

Matthew was appointed Executive General Manager of the Port Adelaide Football Club in 2018, and in October 2020 was appointed the Chief Executive, replacing Keith Thomas with whom he had worked closely for nine years.

Rob Auld

Executive General Manager Game Development

Rob holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting.

before joining the AFL, during a 15-year career with Lion, Rob worked across finance, logistics and sales in winery and dairy business units, while involved in the game at community level as a player, coach and president in Victoria.

In 2016 he was appointed as CEO of AFL Tasmania.

In 2018, he shifted to Head of Game Development, working with State bodies focussing on community football at all levels nationally.

In 2020, Rob was appointed General Manager of AFL competitions including umpiring, competition management, game analysis and player movement.

His role changed again in November 2021 to his current role of Executive General Manager Game Development, which includes responsibility for all participation and programs including the portfolios of Auskick, Schools, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Community Football governance and facility development.


    Please select one from each rotation. You are welcome to change your mind, however we just want to make sure we allocate the breakout sessions to the appropriately sized room based on initial interest.

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