Waldron joins Melbourne's Rebels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waldron joins Melbourne's Rebels

11/01/2010 06:24:10 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm NRL chief executive Brian Waldron has jumped codes to become the first big-name league signing by the new Melbourne Super 15 rugby franchise.

While attention was focused on Australian and Queensland league halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has been linked to the outfit which will join an expanded competition next year, Waldron's departure from the Storm to the Rebels came as a shock.

With previous experience as the CEO of St Kilda AFL club and before that an administrative role with Richmond, as well as his five years experience with the Storm, his appointment is a coup for the Rebels as they look for a foothold in the AFL heartland.

Staff, coaches and players were told on Monday, and Matt Hanson, who was the Storm's chief operating officer, will take over immediately as acting chief executive.

Waldron could be quickly followed into the Rebels by World Cup-winning former Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen.

It's believed Macqueen, who was also a key figure in establishing from scratch the country's most successful Super rugby franchise, the Canberra-based Brumbies, will take on a position as director of coaching.

Macqueen, who has been consulting to the Melbourne franchise, said he intended to meet with Waldron and the Rebels board this week.

"I have to have talks with officials down there and that will decide what role I play," he said.

Under Waldron's off-field leadership, the Storm have contested the last four NRL grand finals, winning two of them.

"I leave the Storm in tremendous shape and we've achieved some amazing things here in my time," Waldron told AAP.

"It's an opportunity to build a whole new business, which is something that's really enticing."

The Rebels ownership was only settled last week with chairman, media buyer Harold Mitchell, among the owners.

Waldron said discussions and his decision were completed quickly.

"It was a very quick turnaround but in the end for all involved I thought it was best I made a quick decision," he said.

"It was a difficult and emotional decision to make.

"I wasn't looking for a new challenge but, when it was put in front of me, it's the right strategic career move for me at this moment."

Still employed by the Storm for another month, Waldron didn't want to discuss his new role and ambitions for the Rebels.

However, he has always been welcoming of their presence in the Melbourne market, believing a new code in town would help spike Victorian interest in non-AFL sports.

A Storm statement said their board would like to "sincerely thank" Waldron for his time at the club and the "magnificent contribution" he had made to it.

Mitchell officially announced Waldron's appointment in a statement late on Monday.

"Brian's talents as an organisational leader and his ability to nurture and operate successful sporting entities at the highest level are well evidenced," the chairman said.

"He is thoroughly committed to achieving success with the Rebels and to developing a team that embodies leadership and integrity both on and off the field.

"His appointment is a vital step toward ensuring our club makes an outstanding permanent contribution to Melbourne's sporting culture."

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