AFL Vic Board
Media Release

AFL Vic welcomes new board members

Newly-appointed external directors to the AFL Victoria board - Clare Walker and Damian Drum

The Australian Football League has made a series of appointments to bolster the AFL Victoria board.

Coming onto the board as external directors are Damian Drum and Clare Walker, who together bring skills and experience from distinguished backgrounds covering a mix of sport, politics and business.

In addition to the external appointments, Jo O’Reilly joins the board from the AFL Victoria administration team, while colleague Kayla Bannister takes on the role of board secretary.

AFL Victoria Board

Lindsay Tanner – Chair

Grant O’Riley – Director

Jenny Taing OAM - Director

Damian Drum - Director

Clare Walker - Director

Rob Auld - Director

Greg Madigan – Director

Jo O'Reilly - Director

Kayla Bannister – Board Secretary

AFL Victoria board chair, Lindsay Tanner, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Damian and Clare as external appointments to the AFL Victoria board, along with Jo O’Reilly and Kayla Bannister as members of the AFL Victoria administration.

“Together this group brings a fantastic mix of skills and experience to help the local game. The external appointments of Damian and Clare will help to strengthen the connection the board has to country and metro grassroots football.

“The board plays an important role guiding AFL Victoria in delivering on its mission to support and grow grassroots Australian Rules Football across the state, to ensure strong leagues, clubs and participation numbers across playing, coaching, umpiring, volunteering and administering.

“In Victoria, the game is in good shape with participation numbers strong but we must never get complacent and we know there are areas of the game doing it tough. The board will continue to listen to those involved in running the game across the state and drive the AFL’s ambition to get footy in every home.”

New board director profiles and comments:

Damian Drum profile

Born in Shepparton and raised on a dairy farm in Congupna in regional Victoria, Damian has been involved in the game extensively. He played 63 games for Geelong in the VFL (now AFL) from 1982-89, before embarking on a long coaching career, which included stints with Werribee and Port Melbourne in the VFA, assistant coach for the Sydney Swans and senior coach of Fremantle in the AFL from 1999-2001. Damian was Chair of the Bendigo Football Netball League for six years.

In 2002, Damian transitioned to politics, where he served until 2016, including a term as Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Veterans Affairs. In 2016, he contested and won the federal seat of Murray (later renamed Nicholls in 2019). Through his football and political history, Damian’s connections to the game and communities across the state are deep.

Comments from Damian

“Football has been a big part of my life for a long time and having grown up in regional Victoria, I am extremely passionate about the state of local football, particularly in country areas.

“I understand the importance of the game and the role it plays in connecting communities, while also appreciating the challenges faced by those involved in the football and the support that AFL Victoria can provide. I look forward to being a connection point between AFL Victoria and country football and playing a role in ensuring that country football continues to grow and prosper.”

Clare Walker profile

Clare is an accomplished leader in sports administration with a strong focus on grassroots participation. She was recently appointed General Manager of Game Development at Softball Australia after serving in general management and interim CEO roles for Badminton Australia.

Clare's academic achievements include an MBA from Melbourne Business School and degrees in Psychology and Human Movement from Deakin University. Her background is particularly relevant to assisting metro areas while she is passionate about the game's impact on communities and the potential for growth in the women and girls space.

Comments from Clare:

“It is an honour to join the AFL Victoria Board and have responsibility for helping to protect and grow the game of Australian Rules Football, which means so much to so many in this state.

“I am excited about bringing my experience and ideas to the discussion to help secure the future of the game, with grassroots participation, programs and women and girls involvement areas of particular focus.”

Jo O'Reilly profile:

Jo has worked at AFL Victoria for just over 12 months in the role of Compliance and Project Lead in our Community Football team. Jo brings significant governance and compliance experience having held roles with Racing Victoria and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

Jo is currently completing a Graduate Certificate of Sports Management at Deakin University as well as several modules from the Certificate in Governance Practice from the Governance Institute of Australia.

Comments from Jo:

“I am really looking forward extending my day-to-day role of assisting clubs and leagues manage compliance and governance to relevant acts and policies.

“As part of the AFL Victoria Board I want to build on my previous work experiences and use my current study to add value to how football structures itself for the growth in the future across the state.”

The new appointees replace outgoing board members Jennie Loughnan, Rosie Butler and Kate Darroch, each of whom has served the board and community football with distinction. AFL Victoria recognises and thanks each of Jennie, Rosie and Kate for their contributions.