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An orderly hand over of power doesn’t always happen in sport but that’s just what has happened at Northern Suburbs this year.
After eight years in the top job, Tony Crawford, has handed the reins to the well-credentialed Grahame O’Donnell.
Crawford oversaw one of the most tumultuous periods in the club’s history organising the sale of the club’s licensed premises, the Cabana Bar at St Leonards and setting up many of the structures that reaped Shute Shield success in 2016.
One of the more significant initiatives from the Crawford regime that still underpins much of what Norths is all about is the club’s mission statement that says: “Better the Player, Better the Person, Better the Community”.
Crawford will stay on as a director on the club’s board of management and obviously will be a very handy sounding board for the incoming regime.
“I’m honoured to be entrusted with the presidency at Norths,” the 52-year-old O’Donnell said.
“But with that honour comes a lot of responsibility and I’d like to think that like Tony I can leave the place in better shape than when I arrived.
“What that means is that we have a lot of work to do to keep Norths at not only the right end of the Shute Shield competition but in the right place in our community.”
O’Donnell has considerable skin in the game having come to rugby coaching at Norths in 2006.
He coached Norths reserve grade side to the premiership in 2008 with a team that featured many young players that went on to play in the top grade and then steered the First Grade side from 2009 until 2011.
After his stint with the top grade he moved into administration at the club and has been an active board member and rugby director.
In that time he has also been a board member and rugby director of the Sydney Rays, coming in when they were first formed in 2014.
When he’s not at the rugby O’Donnell is a senior Sales Executive at 3M.
By Mark Cashman, @Cashcow Media
Top: Incoming Northern Suburbs Chairman Grahame O’Donnell
Bottom: Outgoing Northern Suburbs Chairman Tony Crawford, at the 2017 Bon Andrews Lunch.