By Colin MacGillivray
The Kilmore Football Netball Club is looking for someone to guide it through a post-COVID future after chairman Paul Maher announced he would step down at the end of 2022 after six years in the role.
Maher, who also served as vice-chairman for a year before taking the reins, said it was time to bring “fresh blood” to the club committee.
With Kilmore in a strong position both on and off the pitch, as well as a change in personal circumstances, Maher said he felt the time had come to step back from his role as chairman.
“It’s time to step aside and hand over to someone who has new ideas and new plans,” he said.
“I would like to do some form of handover for the rest of the season so that there can be a smooth transition and the future president can learn the ropes so to speak.
“Rather than looking around at the end of the year and saying ‘who wants to do this?’ we can set up a plan now.
Maher said he was proud of his tenure as chairman, with Kilmore winning the 2019 Northern Football Netball League Club of the Year award a highlight.
“It was a very enriching experience for me. It is a source of pride to see how the club has grown and the success we have achieved in recent years,” he said.
“The club is in a very strong position at the moment. We have all three soccer teams entrenched in the top four, all with a realistic chance of winning a flag, and netball has never been stronger. We are also financially strong.
Maher said he had focused on player development and transition at Kilmore Junior Football Club during his tenure as chairman.
“Historically we have lost talented local players to clubs in neighboring leagues,” he said.
“We have built a great relationship with George Zaharakis, the junior president, and the junior football club in general.
“We started to see junior players staying and continuing to play senior football at Kilmore. We also had the added benefit of seeing a number of players return to the club who were former juniors to help put the club in the position it is in today.
“Rather than go out and buy high-priced recruits elsewhere, we’ve nurtured our own talent and brought it through, which has been great to see.”
Maher said the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges of his presidency, and said retaining and recruiting volunteers will be a priority for the new president.
“COVID was and continues to be a major issue,” he said.
“Obviously we lost the whole season in 2020, but a lot of planning was put in place before this season was cancelled.
“In 2021 we had a shortened season and again it was extremely difficult as we had to comply with government rules and regulations.
“One of the biggest challenges right now is getting help from volunteers. Our committee has not changed much in the past two years.
“It has become more demanding with more demands from the league and AFL Victoria so we have to make sure that all our coaches are properly qualified, our medical staff are properly qualified, we have workers in the canteen and at the bar there are referee escorts and … people who are ready to step in and referee matches.
Maher said he was delighted to see what his successor has brought to the club.
“Who knows? It may be time for the club to consider appointing the first female chairman in its history. Down the road in Broadford [Football Netball Club] you have Bonnie Cavanagh doing a great job, so maybe that’s something Kilmore can consider as well,” he said.
“I have no intention of leaving the club. I will put forward nominations to the committee for the 2023 season and I will be there and willing to help the new president in any way I can.”
Maher thanked all of the committee members and volunteers who served the club during his presidency.
“I didn’t do this on my own; it was a team effort and a lot of hard work went into it,” he said.
“There are a lot of people behind the scenes who don’t get the recognition that I would like to thank for their efforts to make the club what it is today.”
Those interested in applying for the position of President of Kilmore in 2023 can contact the club by calling 5782 1292, messaging their Facebook page at facebook.com/kilmoreblues where to visit kilmorefnc.net.au.