Melbourne Storm have broken the mould with new chief executive Dave Donaghy the same age as their star NRL players Cameron Smith and Billy Smith.
The 32-year-old former journalist has been promoted from his current role as the club’s strategy and communications director to replace Mark Evans, who is returning to the UK.
Donaghy previously worked for Australian Associated Press and News Corp before joining Melbourne Storm; initially in 2008, and then returning in 2013 after a stint with the Brisbane Lions.
A self-declared “dorky school kid”, Donaghy admitted he was a little surprised by his speedy elevation to the top job.
“I’d always hoped to oversee the fortunes of a football club,” Donaghy said.
“I was a bit of dorky school kid who liked stats but loved sport, with its team-work and camaraderie.
“I’ve worked hard to be in this position and I certainly presented a vision to the club around growth and I’m confident off the back of that I can make a real go of it.”
With many chief executives bringing banking or business experience to such a role, Storm chairman Bart Campbell said he thought Donaghy’s age and background would be a strength.
“Dave is young but he understands our business and our fans,” Campbell said.
“A lot is made of generation Y and a lot of us on the board are old fuddy duddys and he’s not so if someone can provide some chewing gum between the two age brackets that would be useful.”
Donaghy said his major goals were continued on-field success through supporting the football department as well as growing memberships.
He will also work to re-sign veteran Billy Slater, who is off contract at the end of the season.
“It’s progressing … he’s been a fantastic player for this club and it would be great to see him finish as a one-club player.”