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Crossing Adelaide's great football divide


Can a former Port Adelaide staffer who describes himself as an “advisor” to the Adelaide Football Club return across the great divide to be a board member at Alberton? Michelangelo Rucci reports.

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Long-time football administrator Rob Snowdon lists on his website – – his “advisory clients” including AFL coaches (such as Crows senior mentor and close friend Matthew Nicks) and the Adelaide Crows.

Now the former AFL club recruiting manager and football operations chief wants to trace his steps back across the great and bitter divide in South Australian football to become a board member at Port Adelaide, where he worked in the football department from 1997-2002.

Snowdon is one of three nominees for the Port Adelaide board seat recently vacated by Brownlow Medallist and inaugural Power captain Gavin Wanganeen. The other boardroom aspirants at Alberton are club devotee Greg Troughton, who has been an outspoken critic at club general meetings, and Grantley Stevens, a member of the Greyhound Racing SA Ltd board.

Snowdon’s nomination stands out in the pack for his link to the so-called “old guard” at Alberton – the 1997 crew led by then club president Greg Boulton while Port Adelaide converted from an SANFL operation to an AFL club – and the curious link with the Crows in recent years.

Only one man – Robert Hoey – has successfully moved to the Crows and returned to be a Port Adelaide director without having any question as to where his loyalty stood.

Hoey, a successful car dealer, was part of the Port Adelaide board that in 1990 sought the first AFL licence based in South Australia. He was co-opted to the inaugural Adelaide Football Club board in 1991 when the media argued there would be merit in having a board member linked to club’s major sponsor, Toyota. Hoey was part of the Toyota team with major dealership Northpoint in Adelaide.

Hoey returned to Alberton to be part of the inaugural Port Adelaide AFL board in 1997 and served as a director until 2007 and later was honoured with club life membership.

Snowdon told InDaily his link to the Crows – particularly the way it reads on his personal business website – should not be overstated nor misunderstood.

“I make no apologies for having friends all across the AFL,” said Snowdon, a former volunteer at Hawthorn and staffer at Sydney.

“I am not wedded to the Crows and I certainly am not on their payroll. There will be no conflict; a point I have made to (club chief executive) Matthew Richardson.”

Snowdon says he took interest in the Port Adelaide board once Wanganeen declared he did not have the time to continue in the demanding role.

“I am keen to help Port Adelaide,” Snowdon said. “My heart is in Port Adelaide. I spent a lot of time at the club. I hope I get the opportunity. I want to add to the football intellect on the board at a time when I feel the club is in good shape and I am comfortable with where it is going.

“But I will never apologise for having friends across every club in the league. Matthew Nicks was a kid we drafted when I was at the Swans. I remain close to him. But I have no formal connections to the Crows.”

The Port Adelaide members eligible to vote last week were sent by email details on the three nominees and the process for this year’s election that opens on Tuesday (February 1) and closes at 5pm on Wednesday, February 16. The successful candidate will be revealed at the club general meeting on Friday, February 18.

The winning candidate might – based on recent member apathy in voting – win a seat on the 10-person board led by David Koch with just 500 votes, one per cent of the membership.

Stevens, a former committee volunteer at Port Adelaide, is pushing his financial expertise as reason for his candidacy at a club noted for its debts.

“I understand the business and financial investment required for a strong men’s and women’s football program to ensure our club wins premierships,” he said.

“I want to contribute to an even better future by providing new strategies, strong corporate governance and enhancing its financial position.”

Stevens will carry the support of noted club heroes, such as SANFL premiership captain Tim Ginever.

Troughton’s campaign is based on the club’s traditional image built on the success of the “Magpies” in the SANFL. He says he would “ensure the Port Adelaide Football Club retains its history to create a vibrant future”.

“I am putting my hand up to serve with a strong belief that respecting the past is an important part of embracing an exciting future,” Troughton said.

“Put simply, the terminology relating to the ‘Magpies’ should never be lost or removed to satisfy a short-term need to satisfy someone, in fact anyone, outside of the Port Adelaide Football Club community. Process matters just as much as the result – history matters just as much as an exciting future.”

The Adelaide Football Club will have, by its description, “a big field” of candidates seeking the two seats up for election to its 10-person board.

There is the vacancy created by the controversial resignation of board member Nick Takos who refused to meet AFL and club policy on COVID vaccinations.

Premiership defender Rod Jameson, a board member since 2015, is seeking re-election.

Nominations for the board vacancy closed on January 24. These are now being vetted by the club to ensure the would-be candidates meet the qualification criteria. These include being fully COVID vaccinated.

Those Crows members who have access to at least three home-and-away matches will be told of the candidates within the next week. The successful nominees will be revealed at the club annual meeting on March 1.

Adelaide Football Club chairman John Olsen told InDaily the interest in board seats at the Crows was “significantly up” on last year when there were four nominees.

“And that significant interest is healthy for the football club,” Olsen said.

Voting for a seat on the Adelaide board generally demands more votes – three times more – than at Port Adelaide, but still draws a minority of the Crows’ 60,000 membership to the electronic ballot box.

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