Newly installed chair of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Lynne Anderson and former premiership-winning captain George Peponis will meet on Tuesday to begin mending fences damaged during the recent election campaign.
Peponis wasn’t on the Ray Dib football club board that was dumped by Bulldogs members in elections on Sunday, but he remains chairman of the Canterbury League Club board where he is elected independently by those members.
Under the club’s structure, four directors from the football club also sit on the League Club board. But three of those lost their seats in Sunday’s poll – Dib, Arthur Coorey and Peter McMahon.
Anderson will appoint four of her team to the League Club board and has an open mind on Peponis remaining.
“I have spoken to George and we’ll be catching up this week. So it’s all good,” Anderson told NRL.com.
Peponis confirmed he had telephoned Anderson to set up a face-to-face meeting. He would like to remain in the role.
“I am an independent director elected by the members of Canterbury League Club to represent their interests as well as ensuring that the League club is well placed financially now and into the future to support the Bulldogs quest to win premierships,” he told NRL.com.
“And none of this changes with the new board in place. We need cooperation-collaboration of football club and League club to ensure ongoing success of both organisations.
“The great community work the League Club does and the social hub it provides for our local community brings a lot of satisfaction to (my) role.”
Under his tenure, the club paid off an existing $15 million debt (by August 2012); provided annual community funding of at least $1m; provided a consistent grant to the Bulldogs of at least $4m each year; and contributed to the redevelopment of Belmore Sportsground.
Some thought the situation might be untenable when Peponis openly supported Dib with comments late in the election campaign questioning the bone fides of several of Anderson’s “Reform 2018” ticket, including Anderson herself and her husband, former Test coach Chris Anderson.
Peponis said none of Dib’s ticket had coached or played against the Bulldogs – a direct reference to Chris Anderson, Paul Dunn and Steve Price – or served as an executive of a rival club. Dunn was CEO at the South Sydney Rabbitohs while Lynne Anderson was a director under former Gold Coast Titans chair Rebecca Frizelle, but resigned last October.
“I made it clear on Sunday that a battle like this does get competitive,” Anderson said.
“But like a tough game of footy, when we walk off the field, we put it behind us and go together forward.”
She said she had some ideas in her head of the four new Leagues club directors.
“We have had some discussions, obviously, over the course of this campaign but we haven’t finalised it. Now we can start making some of those decisions,” she said.
“It’s really hard to tell people what you’re going to do, because until you get elected you don’t have the power or the means to do them.”
Anderson’s diary is filling up fast. She has the new Bulldogs board meeting, which she chairs for the first time, and the team’s season launch on the same day – February 22.
On February 21 she will be attending the ARL Commission’s AGM, along with the other 15 NRL club chairs, to approve new constitutional reforms.
That prompted questions about her view on the changes, which will expand the ARLC from eight to 10 members, with six being independent, two representing the NSWRL and QRL, and two representing the clubs.
Two candidates are being put up by the clubs – Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys and Sydney lawyer Glen Selikowitz.
Peponis wants to help background Anderson on the ARLC, where he will become a Commissioner as chairman of the NSWRL, if the constitutional changes are passed.
Anderson said her other priorities this week were the Bulldogs front office and the football department.
She met Bulldogs administration staff on Monday before a lengthy meeting with CEO Andrew Hill.
“The first thing I wanted to do was meet all the staff and reassure them what I’ve been saying all along and that is, we’re here to support them. We want to make their jobs problem-free.
“The coach and the players have a day off today (Monday) but we’ll certainly be making that a priority this week as well before they fly up to the Sunshine Coast – if that fits in with their schedule.”
The Bulldogs are due to face the Canberra Raiders in a trial game at the Sunshine Coast Stadium at Kawana Waters, near Mooloolaba, on Saturday night.
“Then I will turn my attention fully to matters like the ARLC changes, the Des Hasler court case, other financials of the club,” Anderson said.
“We’re hitting the ground running as we want to get straight into the job of building a better Bulldogs.”
Anderson has been the chief executive of the Australian Paralympic Committee since 2015 and said she has no intention of giving up that role.
“A hundred per cent. I’ve got a good appetite for work so I can fit both in. My day job is the APC there’s no doubt about that and no change with that. “
Anderson is off to the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics in Korea (March 9-18) to be held two weeks after the Olympics finish. Australia is sending a team of 12 alpine skiers and snowboarders.