RIRRATJINGU HOSTED BY RICHMOND TIGERS

Our Manager | Culture & Community, Hayden Rickard, spent a week on a professional development opportunity viewing the machinations of High Performance sporting entity the Richmond Football Club. The visit came about through former NT Thunder Senior Coach and ex-AFL Player Xavier Clarke who is a highly regarded Development Coach at Tigerland. Clarke has often hosted Territorians to ensure industry knowledge filters back to the Northern Territory at any opportunity. RAC asked Hayden how his visit went.

RAC:

How long were you at the Club?

Hayden:

I spent the week viewing how the club went about its business. After landing in Melbourne late Monday I went to the club on Tuesday morning. Players were working in their particular lines and assessing their individual performances. Later, the coaching staff reviewed the Hawthorn game with the whole Football Department in their theatre which has its own screen. Discussion went back and forward between the coaches and the playing groups, basically looking for things they done well or could improve. Thursday was the heavy training day and the squad trained for how it wanted to approach Essendon for the Dreamtime match on the Saturday. Friday was a theatre session with the Senior Coach Damien Hardwick followed by some more fine-tuning on the track. Saturday was Game Day. I was fortunate to sit in on the VFL Mens Game build up. A win at Punt Rd then across to the MCG for the AFL clash.

RAC:

The club has a Theatre?

Hayden:

Yep. Every AFL Club will have this set-up. Part of the football growth of the elite level AFL player will be vision based. Coaches will use training and game footage to highlight areas that they view as critical to winning.

RAC:

What key learnings do you hope to bring to the Rirratjingu Football Program and Djarrak Football Club?

Hayden:

There were a tonne of lightbulb moments of ideas that can be shamelessly stolen. I think the presentation style that the coaches use in the Theatre is something that can be adopted not only here in our football department but even when we work with our internal Leaders Create Leaders program. Obviously, around the training track there were little coaching cues and language I can share with our group. One thing the club does well is it caters for every learning style. Players get to read, watch and do.

RAC:

What was a highlight of your visit?

Hayden:

The club was really authentic and genuine with its commitment and support of Indigenous players and its wider community programs. The club works closely with the Korin Gamadji Institute and I attended a luncheon at the boarding house of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School. There were a some NT students completing Year 7 before moving into a Melbourne High School in Year 8 in 2020. Hopefully we can get a Yirrkala student this opportunity one day.

RAC:

What else did you get up too whilst in Melbourne?

Hayden:

I was lucky to visit Rirratjingu Football program participant Gawiya Mununggurr who has started boarding at The Geelong College. Gawiya is doing well and is settling in nicely. She has been playing football and is developing in the small forward role and really brings her defensive pressure into her game.

RAC:

What things do you think you will pass on to your coaching staff at Djarrak FC?

Hayden:

Being fortunate to sit in on the Tigers selection meetings, I would express to our coaches if you have an idea then put it on the table. The Tigers Coaching staff had really robust discussions on why something could have a good impact here or deciding what to give and take. Coach Hardwick obviously has the final call but he explains why he may go with that angle.

RAC:

It sounds like you have gained some insights that you can implement here in Yirrkala. Is there any final thoughts on your experience?

Hayden:

I’d just like to thank Richmond Football Club for being so open with the visit. Nothing was off limits. Neil Balme runs a tight ship but had an open door policy. Coach Hardwick was comfortable having me in some really important sessions and was willing to share the Tiger way of doing things at all levels. I can’t speak highly enough of Xavier. He’s flying the flag for the Territory, and by lobbying to host my visit, will indirectly impact every coach and player at our club and program.

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NEW CEO APPOINTED TO GUIDE CORPORATION FORWARD

The Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation would like to announce the appointment of John Hughes as new Chief Executive Officer of the Rirratjingu group of companies, including Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation, Rirratjingu Mining Ltd, Bunuwal Investments Pty Ltd and Bunuwal Fuel. John took up the position in late December.

RAC Chairman Bakamumu Marika was very pleased with this appointment.

He said “The next few years will be critical for the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation, and the Board followed a robust selection process for this important role. We were able to choose from a good number of quality candidates.  John is well-placed to take the Rirratjingu group of companies forward, given his recent experience working for government statutory organisations and for Aboriginal Corporations”. 

John worked for 18 years in private commercial and public legal practice, including at NAALAS (now NAAJA) and the NLC, before turning to management, most recently in Western Australia as CEO of Mirriuwung Gajerrong Corporation in the Kimberley and then of Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation in the Pilbara.  John is committed to capturing the opportunities promised by native title and NT Aboriginal land rights for Aboriginal group self-determination and for individual empowerment, and John is keen to build the corporate strategy of the Rirratjingu group of companies. 

Bakumumu added, “I would much like to thank Saheel Shah for fulfilling the role of acting CEO during the recruitment process.  Saheel returns to his finance portfolio and has handed John a very healthy group of companies”.

While recruiting the new CEO during the latter part of 2018, the Board was also implementing a range of reviews and adopting a new Strategic Plan.  Over the Christmas-New Year period John has been absorbing a myriad of information and is now relishing the opportunity to build relationships with staff, Directors and advisers, Rirratjingu members, and with our stakeholders in the wider community.

Hughes said “This will be one of the most interesting and satisfying roles in my career.  I am keen to put into effect the Directors’ plans to reposition the Rirratjingu group for a future after bauxite mining.  The traditional owner groups and the business and government communities here are welcoming.  They are open-minded and oriented towards progress, and they are already making the most of the many opportunities for business collaboration and to build healthy lives here in East Arnhem region. This is a very good time to be working from the Rirratjingu offices at Yirrkala, overlooking the spectacular Yirrkala bay”. 

CEO John Hughes