AFL: Matt de Boer and Andrew Ireland join AFL Commission

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Just a month after announcing his retirement from the AFL, former GWS and Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer has been added to the AFL Commission.

He joins former Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland as the two new additions who will take up their roles as soon as the next commission meeting in October.

The commission has been on the hunt for a member with AFL playing experience after the resignation of Jason Ball in 2021, and Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield confirmed that he had been sounded out by chairman Richard Goyder.

Former Giants captain Phil Davis, who also retired this year, was also a player mentioned as a possible candidate, but 33-year-old de Boer, who co-founded a venture capital firm in 2020 while still playing, was picked by a selection committee to fill one of two vacancies.

“I am excited and also humbled by becoming a member of the commission and bring a contemporary lens of football and specifically the ups and downs of an AFL footy career over 14 years at two clubs and two states,” de Boer said.

“Hopefully, I can bring an insight into playing in both an established market with Freo and an emerging market with the Giants.”

Goyder said both Ireland and de Boer, who played 223 games with first the Dockers then the Giants, brought solid football experience to the roles.

“Andrew and Matt bring a great mix of club and football playing and administration experience across four states that gives them an insight into both how we play the game and also how we support the growth of the game and engage communities who currently are not connected to our game,” Goyder said.

“They are also leaders with strong values and strong views who are passionate about our game and what it needs to do to continue to be the game of choice for Australia’s best athletes.”

Ireland played 110 games with Collingwood before an extensive and distinguished career in administration, particularly working to grow the game in Queensland and NSW. He was the man who orchestrated Lance Franklin‘s move to Sydney.

“I am very honoured to join the commission and my view is the commission plays such an important role as the independent body guiding the code and providing oversight,” he said.

“The experience I have had over the journey playing firstly for a big club in Victoria and then being involved as CEO at Brisbane and Sydney will be beneficial in helping the game to grow.”

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