Dockers on the verge of greatness: Hart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers on the verge of greatness: Hart

By Justin Chadwick 13/08/2009 07:24:31 PM Comments (0)

Outgoing Fremantle president Rick Hart is convinced the AFL club has finally put the right processes in place to achieve premiership success.

And incoming president Steve Harris has declared he will deliver that elusive piece of silverware sooner rather than later.

Hart announced on Thursday that he will hand over the reins to Harris on December 1, ending his eight-year tenure in the role.

Although Fremantle have reached the finals just twice since their inception in 1995, Hart said the club's belated punt on youth, which has seen 11 Dockers make their AFL debut this year, guaranteed a far brighter future.

"The past 12 months has seen significant change," Hart said.

"Everyone within the football club ... is very confident of delivering our goal in the next period of time - two, three, four years, whatever it takes - and that is to attain sustained on-field success, which in my view is the last link in the chain for the Fremantle football club.

"This year will be the seventh consecutive profit.

"We've seen the club (become) established (and) firmly entrenched in the top four or five clubs in the AFL.

"The one missing ingredient is on-field success.

"We've put in place a plan, it's the first time the Fremantle football club has gone back to basics and invested in youth.

"We are in the first year of that plan.

"All of these people here work towards the one thing, and that's to get that big piece of silverware into the bare cabinet there.

"I'm confident we've done the things to put it in place to make the footy club achieve that."

Fremantle was a basket case both on and off the field when Hart took up the presidency in February 2002.

And while some may argue that the Dockers' on-field fortunes haven't changed much, with the club 15th on the ladder, there is no doubt Hart's influence has helped transform Fremantle into one of the financially strongest in the league.

Harris, the managing director of a Perth advertising agency, refused to put a time frame on when the club would be in premiership mode.

But the 43-year-old father of two said Fremantle's long-suffering fans wouldn't have to be patient for much longer.

"In a sense of committing to time lines ... it's impossible to do, but we have goals and have objectives, and it's not to get there slowly," Harris said.

"People talk a lot about Fremantle playing finals. The real game is to win a premiership.

"Sustained success is playing finals, playing grand finals, winning premierships and delivering financially off the field so the club has the support and resources that it needs to deliver that."

Hart, along with Tony Buhagiar, will not seek reappointment to the club's board.

Fremantle foundation player Stephen O'Reilly and dual Olympic hockey gold medallist Jenn Morris have been appointed for three-year terms.

Hart said the time was perfect for him to step aside.

"All old race horses have to go out to pasture at some stage and I'm looking forward to that," he said.

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