FORMER Victorian Country Football League president Nicholas Rolfe has taken up the top governance job in local football, appointed chair of the AFL Central Victoria commission.

The solicitor and former AFL Victoria Country chairman takes over from Andrew Cooney, who did not seek reappointment in the
role.

It comes at a key time for the commission, which faces two of its main challenges in the Bendigo Football Netball League.

The ongoing plight of Maryborough is one key issue, while the BFNL flagged its disappointment  earlier this year with the commission and the structure within which Victorian football operates.

Both Maryborough and Castlemaine are also without under-18 football sides this season in another worrying sign for the commission.

Rolfe oversaw the VCFL when Peter Jackson’s report into country football was handed down. That report called for broad changes to the structure of leagues and the Community Club Sustainability system.

It also preceded the current commission system under which football in Victoria is run.

The second major measure from the report saw the implementation of player points and salary caps in country leagues.

The commission was established in 2013 but attracted criticism from within football circles about the lack of its direction in the ensuing period.

The commission has taken no great strides in the five years, instead dealing with instability in staff and overseeing the appointment of several key positions.

Rolfe moved on to the AFL Goulburn Murray commission from the VCFL, before recently moving within the AFL Central Victoria region.

He said “I trust it will be a seamless transition” and thanked Cooney for his contribution.

Cooney stepped down from the commission due to a change in his employment that sees him commuting to work outside of Melbourne.

Cooney said he enjoyed his time as chair and “would like to thank our local leagues and clubs for entrusting me with this really important role”.

– Joel Peterson