Bolton appointed AFL NSW/ACT GM

Former Sydney Premiership player Craig Bolton has been appointed as General Manager AFL NSW/ACT, taking over from Tom Harley.

Bolton has been serving as AFL NSW/ACT’s Deputy General Manager since joining the organisation in March 2013 and takes over the role of General Manager from Tom Harley who relinquished the position in December last year.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou said Bolton was the ideal person to head up the development of Australian football in New South Wales and the ACT.

“Since finishing his playing career Craig has quickly established himself as an outstanding leader with the capacity to take the game forward across all levels,” Mr Demetriou said.

“This is clearly a vitally important role for the AFL and as a local Canberra product whose career spanned both Brisbane and Sydney Football Clubs, Craig has a deep understanding of the game’s development in growth markets.

“We’re delighted to have someone of Craig’s character and capability in the role.”

Bolton has held responsibility for a number of key portfolios over the past 12 months, including community participation and priority markets.

Having played for the Eastlake Football Club in Canberra as a junior and then the NSW/ACT Rams Under 18s, Bolton enjoyed a distinguished career with the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans, playing 199 AFL games (170 for Sydney) and gaining All-Australian honours in 2006 and 2009. He was Sydney co-captain from 2008-2010 and played an integral part in the Swans’ 2005 Premiership.
Prior to joining AFL NSW/ACT, Bolton - who holds a Bachelor of Communications degree - had been working as an executive consultant for Elkiem, which involved executive, high performance training and coaching at multinational firms in Australia, New Zealand and in the USA.

Bolton will report to AFL General Manager - People, Customer & Community, Dorothy Hisgrove, who oversees game development on a national scale.

“Craig is a highly respected member of the AFL community and his capacity to bring the best out of people makes him ideal for this role“, Ms Hisgrove said.

“Craig will assume leadership responsibility for what is a significant and strategically important market for the AFL.  He will continue to focus on driving high levels of participation throughout the community, ensuring new fans and the most talented athletes in New South Wales and the ACT are attracted to Australia’s game.

“Craig will continue to work in close partnership with the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS to further grow the game on all fronts. He will also work on developing the game’s profile with a range of key stakeholders, including the corporate and government sectors.”

Bolton said he was looking forward to taking up the role.

“Under the exceptional leadership of Tom Harley, AFL in NSW/ACT has grown significantly both as a team and in terms of working to achieve outstanding growth in participation numbers,” Bolton said.

“We have a great platform for future growth, and I look forward to watching the game flourish from the grassroots level right through to the two AFL clubs here in New South Wales.

“Growing up in Canberra I was lucky enough to benefit from the talent opportunities provided to me by AFL NSW/ACT, from the Rams right through to when I was playing for the Swans. I’m excited by the prospect of contributing to the future success of the game with our team across the state.”


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