CONFIRMED: Rugby Australia appoints Raelene Castle as new CEO

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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20 Have your say

    Rugby Australia have unveiled Raelene Castle as their new Chief Executive on Tuesday afternoon, with Castle taking over from Bill Pulver and making history in the process.

    It’s understood Castle was picked from a pool of 100 applicants, which was whittled down to just three in recent weeks. Former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns was believed to be the other frontrunner for the position.

    Rugby Australia Chairman, Cameron Clyne said Castle was a standout from the list of candidates.

    “Raelene is an extremely impressive executive who covered every base as far as what the Board was looking for in a Chief Executive Officer to lead our game into an important new chapter, said Clyne.

    “She offers an incredible wealth of experience in sports administration and business, with an outstanding track record in commercial, marketing and communications roles.”

    Castle becomes the first female boss of any Australian national football code, completing the move after spending four years as CEO of the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL. She resigned from that role in May of this year, stepping down at the end of the NRL season.

    She made history in that role as well, becoming the first woman to run a football club in Australia.

    Castle had a bitter end at the Bulldogs though, the club crashing to miss the finals and coach Des Hasler being re-signed for two years before being fired later at the end of the season, leading to legal proceedings.

    Before her time at the Bulldogs, Castle spent six years in charge of Netball New Zealand. The crowning legacy from her run in charge across the ditch was the Trans-Tasman Netball competition which gathered heavy support, although the competition is now defunct.

    Clyne said Castle could bring a fresh vision to Rugby Australia and new what would be required.

    “Through her most recent roles as CEO of the Bulldogs and Netball New Zealand, Raelene has led sporting organisations at both a national and club level, giving her an in-depth understanding of what it takes to run a national sporting body as well as the unique challenges for clubs and the importance of building strong relationships and a unity of purpose within a sporting code,” said Clyne.

    “Raelene impressed the board with her vision for Rugby and her clear understanding of what needs to be done to strengthen and unite the code at all levels. In talking to Raelene, and those who have worked with her over her successful sports administration career, it is clear that she fosters environments of collaboration and high performance, always leading by example.”

    Castle said she was looking forward to the road ahead.

    “I am honoured to be joining Rugby Australia and bringing to it my commercial and sports management and marketing experience,” said Castle.

    “Having followed Rugby closely for over 30 years and having worked in the New Zealand and Australian sporting environments for the past 10 years, there is no doubt Australian rugby has a clear international and domestic offering for both male and female athletes that can be further developed and strengthened.”

    With changes to the format of Super Rugby next season, Rugby Australia (or the ARU as they were known at the time) faced the difficult decision of cutting one team from the competition.

    The Western Force ended up losing their place in the competition, sparking outrage. Pulver copped most of the blame and announced at the time he would be standing down from the role of Rugby Australia CEO once a suitable replacement was found.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • December 12th 2017 @ 1:13pm
      Worlds Biggest said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

      Good luck Raelene, wish you all the very best !

    • December 12th 2017 @ 2:12pm
      Drongo said | December 12th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

      She will be excellent in this role, a truely capable individual. We must now get behind her and support her.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 2:20pm
      Bamboo said | December 12th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

      The ones that complain the loudest about this are the ones you don’t want in the sport, as they are the ones that got you to where you are at present.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 2:25pm
      League Man said | December 12th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

      Given the current mess that the Bulldogs are in, I was shocked to hear Raelene Castle appointed as CEO of Rugby.

      The Bulldogs with all their money are currently the laughing stock of the game.


      • Roar Guru

        December 12th 2017 @ 2:45pm
        Fox said | December 12th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        Yeah that surprised me as well – the Bulldog are a financial mess but we shall see what happens I guess

        • December 12th 2017 @ 8:59pm
          cuw said | December 12th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

          what u need to consider is , can u afford to mess up an already messy situ?

          becoz from all i read it seems auzzy rugger has very little money.

          and for me money is the prime consideration.

          without money , all the lofty plas to develop the game are just castles in the sky.

          u dont want to go where Samoa ( and a few others ) are – right??

    • December 12th 2017 @ 3:16pm
      Harry said | December 12th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

      Usual guff from Clyne with meaningless words and platitudes. I genuinely hope the incoming CEO’s vision is not aligned with what Clyne and Pulver “achieved” at the grass roots and in the Force debacle, where it is painfully obvious that Melbourne was favoured over Western Australia. We are still to hear any convincing rationale why.
      Anyway best wishes to Raelene Castle. The most pressing task is to negotiate with Andrew Forrest an agreement for this Asia Pacific Rugby Championship or whatever it is. Good luck with that.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 3:24pm
      Jimbo81 said | December 12th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

      Confirmed Allblacks Supporter
      Zero Experience with a successful team – only teams she joins go South quickly

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out within 12 months – 100% PC Charlatan Mess

      • December 12th 2017 @ 4:03pm
        Bamboo said | December 12th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report


        Have a look at her experience working for a national body, and imagine if the same was able to occur to RA….

        You just don’t like her, thats it.

        I’m talking about people like you in my above comment.

      • December 12th 2017 @ 6:57pm
        andrewM said | December 12th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

        The good news Jimbo is that RA can’t go any further south than they are already!

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