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Western Bulldogs Football Department Personnel

Chris Grant - Director of Football

Chris Grant was appointed Director of Football in June of the 2016 season.

The appointment of Grant to the role recognised the rapid growth of the Club’s football department, which includes Women’s football, Next Generation Academies and the expansion of the Club’s VU partnership.

A former Club Captain, Grant  has served as non-executive football director for over four years prior to accepting this new role, and has accumulated valuable management experience through involvement in retail operations, commercial property development and more recently in senior operations management roles with the Spotless Group.

Grant played 341 AFL games for the Club between 1990 and 2007, and is a two-time Charles Sutton medallist, three time All-Australian, former Club captain (2000-2004) and Footrscay-Western Bulldogs Hall of Fame and AFL Hall of Fame inductee.

Rohan Smith - AFL Dev Manager

Rohan Smith was promoted to Assistant Coach role in season 2013 and has since been responsible for the Bulldogs' backline, after previously fulfilling the role of Skills Aquisition Coach in 2012.

Smith repsonsible for the Bulldogs backline that helped steer the Club to its historic second AFL premiership in 2016, before assuming responsibility for the Club's AFL Development program ahead of the 2017 season.

Smith played 300 games and kicked 254 for the Bulldogs before retiring in 2006.

Smith was named an All-Australian on two occasions (1997, 2003) in his 16 year AFL career.

He also won the 1998 E.J. Whitten Medal as the best Victorian player in the State of Origin clash against the Allies.

Mat Inness - Physical Performance

Joining the football club in 2014 as the VFL High Performance Manager, Mat Inness was elevated into the role of Strength & Conditioning Coach to the AFL side in 2015, before being promoted into the Physical Performance Manager role for the commencement of the 2016 preseason campaign.

With nearly 20 years of experience in elite sport in a variety of roles, Inness brings perspectives from a broad range of roles including as a High Performance Coach/Manager, a professional athlete, skills coach, and as a sport scientist, in a number of different professional sporting organisations.
A PhD candidate, Inness has demonstrated an ability to be a thought leader in his field, presenting at international conferences on Applied Physiology and Strength and Conditioning, as well as having research papers published in high-ranking scientific journals.

Prior to arriving at the Kennel, Inness had held similar roles at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, Western Australian Warriors cricket team, and Williamstown Football Club.

A former first-class cricketer, Inness played 81 matches for Victoria, Western Australia and North Hampshire, collecting 281 wickets (ave. 25.77) as a left-arm fast-medium bowler.

Inness overseas the day-to-day physical preparaton of the AFL playing group.

Ben Graham - Football Operations

Former Geelong captain and NFL punter Ben Graham was appointed Football Operations Manager at the Western Bulldogs ahead of the 2013 season. 

Graham will undertake the newly created position, working closely with General Manager, Football Graham Lowe to oversee the overall football department. 

The multi-faceted role looks at the strategic direction of the Bulldogs football department ahead of 2020 and will play a major hand in setting up the stand alone VFL team set for 2014.

With experience within the AFL system as well as on an international scale through the NFL, Graham is a quality acquisition for the Club.

Chris Maple - GM of Football

Chris Maple coached the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup for two years prior to joining the Western Bulldogs coaching panel in 2008.

Maple has worked tirelessly in recent years on the expansion of the Bulldogs' development program after holding the position of Development Manager, before being named as the senior coach of the Footscray Bulldogs VFL side before the start of the 2014 season.

Maple led the Footscray Bulldogs to the VFL premiership in 2014 - the team’s first year back in the state league - and in late 2014 was promoted to the position of Head of Development at the Kennel.

Maple has also coached at both Tatyoon and Buninyong football clubs in the Ballarat league, and through those roles had played a major role in the Rebels Development Squad over eight years.

Chris Maple has since become the Club's General Manager of Football.

Chris Bell - Medical Services

Chris Bell joined the Club at the start of the 2014 season as Head Physiotherapist after seven years at the St Kilda Football Club.

Bell holds as Master of Sports Physiotherapy and has previously worked at Prahran Sports Medicine Centre, New Zealand Knights Soccer Club and the Bendigo Bombers.

Bell has also lectured at the Australian Physiotherapy Association and tutored for the Sports Physiotherapy Master’s Program at La Trobe University