At the recent 2020 CGFC Annual General Meeting Will Bowes was elected as the new President of the club taking over from Peter Small.
Will has been involved in the club since 1995 firstly playing 230 games for his beloved fields and then onto being a coach and committee member. Will has been involved in many successes being a 3 time premiership player and 3 time premiership coach.
While many of you will know Will in the CGFC community we thought it would be good to hear from Will about taking over the presidency of the club and what lies ahead for the fields.
So Will, tell us about yourself?
I’m married (Hayley) and we have 2 wonderful little girls (Victoria & Elizabeth).
We live in Aspendale and I work for DuluxGroup in a Supply Chain Projects role.
When did you first come to CGFC?
I joined the Fields in 1995 with some close mates Matt Cutler and Mark Liddell. I had never played footy before and thought I would give it a go. At the time I didn’t realise how far CGFC had fallen, but in retrospect the club was almost on it’s knees in ’95.
What has CGFC meant to you?
I had little expectation when joining the club and if you had told me I would still be here 26 years later I wouldn’t have believed you. But it has played a significant role in my life and I just love the joy it can provide to our wider community. We should never underestimate how many people quietly follow us and the pride that they have when we succeed.
What does becoming CGFC President mean to you?
It is a massive responsibility. President’ and committee’s are custodians of the club and have a responsibility to leave it in a better place then they found it. Peter Small and all the people who served on the committee under him, have delivered on that and it is now our turn to take up the baton. While we can’t achieve any more promotions, there are still lot’s of ways we can continue to improve.
Tell us about the committee supporting you in 2021?
A lot of last year’s committee is continuing on and we are fortunate to have Keegan Stewart (Treasurer) and Nick Tonkin (Secretary) in 2 of our key roles. Luke Matias (Sponsorship & Networking), Will Kingwill (Women’s Football) and Mia Antonopolous (Women’s Playing Representative) have joined the committee and are all wonderful additions. Jason Smith (Communications & Membership), Rachel Cowdell (Player Welfare), Scott Williams (Football Operations), Matt Scholten (Relationships) and Rob Lyon (Strategy) are serving again in 2021.
What contribution has Peter Small made to CGFC as president over the last 5 seasons?
I was living in Sydney prior to 2016 and genuinely hadn’t realised how we had slipped as a club. Peter sought out to reinvigorate the club and “put the fun back in”. He absolutely achieved that and his appointment of Simon Williams as our Senior Coach was a master stroke. Promotion and premierships are hard to achieve and to go from such a dismal year in 2015 to achieving promotion to A Grade and a Premiership in 2019 was a sensational turnaround. However that only paints part of the picture. In 2015 we barely fielded a Reserves side and we have since won a Reserves flag in 2017 and Thirds flags in 2016 & 2019, which shows the depth that been able to be built. The additions of the Women’s program and the quick expansion into 2 teams has fundamentally changed our club for the better, and of course we won our first Women’s Premiership in 2019 as well. He has left a hell of a legacy and our community should be grateful for his selfless service.
What do you want to achieve as President ?
We need to be very competitive in A Grade, in both the Men’s and Women’s. You are either trying to play finals or are trying to avoid relegation. So we need to provide the best support we can to our football departments to give them the best chance of success.
Off-field we need to continue to build our capability and set ourselves up for growth. We are looking to commence a Welfare program to support our community and also to investigate the creation of a “Building Fund”.
While we lost 2020 as our centenary season how can we celebrate it in 2021?
While we would love to roll out the plan for 2020 in 2021, the reality is that a COVID-Normal environment will make that difficult. However we will be wearing our centenary jumpers in 2021 and will look to deliver a mid year centenary celebration at the MCG. We also have a number of premiership reunions to celebrate and on current advice we should be able to hold these as lunches at Glenhuntly during 2021 season (albeit at a set capacity). We are looking to have our 2021 calendar out prior to Christmas so our community can start planning what they would like to attend. We will also have comprehensive COVID-Safe plans for all events to provide the safest opportunity to enjoy socialising with friends.
What should our expectations be in 2021 with the club being in Premier Grade across Men’s , Women’s and Under 19’s?
We should enter 2021 with supreme confidence that we will be super competitive in all competitions. A number of our senior players (mens and womens) have played in A Grade previously and the standard required to compete is well understood.
Thanks Will. We wish you every success in your new role at the fields.