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NSWRL Board has new Chair and Directors

The new-look NSWRL Board has today appointed Acting District Court Judge Paul Conlon as Chair of the state’s governing body.

Conlon is joined by two new Directors, with Roosters CEO Joe Kelly elected at the NSWRL Annual General Meeting (17 February) as one of two metropolitan representatives on the Board, and Scouts NSW CEO Carolyn Campbell, appointed by the Board (20 February) as one of two expert directors.

The NSWRL Board now comprises Paul Conlon (Chair), John Anderson OAM (Deputy Chair), Bob Walsh, Terry Brady, Kevin Greene, Joe Kelly, and Carolyn Campbell.

Paul Conlon has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the law. Following 20 years as a Crown Prosecutor and Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor, he was appointed to the Bench of the District Court of New South Wales in 2006. He served as a Judge until 2018 when he retired from the Bench.

However, since then he has continued in the role of Acting Judge of the District Court of New South Wales. He has also had a lengthy Rugby League involvement, serving as the Chair of the NRL judiciary for eight years.

Conlon said: “I regard this appointment as a real honour. This organisation goes back to the very beginning of Rugby League in 1908. I am acutely aware of our responsibilities to growing the game from grass roots to the professional/elite level. In this endeavour I look forward to working with my fellow Board Members and the administration of the NSWRL.”

Kelly has been CEO of the Roosters since 2017, and prior held senior executive roles with Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (CEO, 2014-16), South Sydney Rabbitohs (Chief Financial Officer, 2007-14), and Chelsea Football Club (Financial Controller, 2002-07).

Kelly said: “I am really looking forward to working with my fellow Board members and management and staff at NSWRL and assisting where possible to align all our interests to focus on growing Rugby League in NSW.”

Campbell has had a distinguished career within the Australian sporting landscape as a senior executive and Board Director across a broad range of state and national sporting bodies, as well as captaining the Australian Under 21s women's hockey team.

Prior to her current role as Chief Executive of Scouts NSW, Campbell was the CEO of Netball NSW for 14 years (2006-2020) and interim CEO of Basketball Australia (2021).

Campbell also holds Director roles with Volleyball Australia, Hockey One and the Bankstown Sports Club, and is a former Sport NSW Chair and Director and former Director of Venues NSW, Hockey Australia, WomenSport and Recreation NSW, and WomenSport West.

Campbell said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the Board of NSW Rugby League. Sport is a fundamental building block of our society providing life-long skills and opportunity. Rugby League in this state continues to evolve and I am privileged to play a part in helping the code thrive.”

The Board paid tribute to the outstanding service provided over the past decade by outgoing Directors Geoff Gerard and William (Smiley) Johnstone, who had been on the Board since 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Anderson OAM said: “It has been our honour and our privilege to work with Geoff and Smiley over a long period of time. Their contribution to rugby league in this state as long-term directors of the organisation has been immense but their overall legacy to the game extends way beyond just that.

“As a True Blue and Australian international representative and as the first player to play 300 first grade games, Geoff has a unique place in our history. His lengthy administrative career included a role as a selector, prior to his appointment to the Board. Smiley has been a senior Indigenous community and Rugby League leader for many years.

“His Rugby League roles included being Chair of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council. The game now enjoys the legacy of the All Stars fixture from Smiley’s tenure as Chair. We have placed a high value on the wise counsel and support which Geoff and Smiley always provided.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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