Western Bulldogs President Kylie Watson-Wheeler says finding the one-percenters in the Bulldogs’ football department will make a telling difference leading into the 2024 AFL season.
Watson-Wheeler and CEO Ameet Bains have instigated a further assessment of the AFL men’s program in the areas of administration, operation and integration, with its purpose to identify which processes are working well and which need improvement.
“Obviously, we work very closely together. We speak regularly, probably daily, and from our perspective we believe that this was the right thing to do for the Club at this moment in time, given what we've already done,” the President told Gerard Whateley on SEN.
“This is not a review of people – it’s a review of the department and processes. It’s to help us find those one-percenters.
“It’s well-documented that we had a disappointing end to the season, and as it came to an end we made the assessment of the areas that we believed needed to improve on – which of course led to some significant changes in our football department from a staffing perspective.
“We’re certainly really excited and buoyed by those changes. We think that they’re providing really great foundations for improvement moving forward.
“Now, with new people and a new environment – we’ve all just moved into our new, beautiful facility at VU Whitten Oval – we believed there was an opportunity to bring in some fresh eyes to really help us meld the new and existing staff in the right environment to help set us up for optimal success in the year ahead.”
Watson-Wheeler said honing in on those one-percenters will help provide an opportunity for the Club to thrive in 2024.
“One of the things we’ve recognised is that the competition is the closest it has ever been. As a result of that, the one-percenters matter,” she said.
“For us, given a new environment and new opportunity to really get off to a strong start, we really wanted to have the microscope out and make sure we were looking at all elements of our football department to make sure we maximise our opportunity for future success.
“We’re really forward-thinking from a Club perspective – we are being proactive in ensuring we are creating an environment where we have an opportunity for ultimate success.
“We have made a lot of changes that we think will have a positive influence on the playing group, the department and the outcome – so from that perspective we feel really positive about where it’s heading.”
Watson-Wheeler also recognised the expectations of the AFL team next year, following a disappointing end to the 2023 campaign.
“I think our fans – as they should and as we appreciate – have high expectations of us. That’s why we’re all here – for the ultimate success of winning a premiership. That’s the purpose and goal of every football department and club,” she said.
“From our perspective, we’ll of course be giving it all we have to achieve the ultimate success, as our fans would expect of us.
“We have a very, very passionate and engaged fanbase – they’re connected and love our club as much as we love them.”
The Bulldogs’ 1-4 year players will commence pre-season training next week, before the full squad returns on November 27.