AAP AFL

New Dockers CEO wants to turn AFL fortunes

By AAP Newswire

Winning back fans and turning around the AFL club's on-field performance are the key priorities for incoming Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick, who learned valuable lessons from a tumultuous period leading the Western Bulldogs.

Garlick, who played 137 games for the Bulldogs and 44 for Sydney between 1994-2004, takes over from Steve Rosich.

Rosich was sacked on the same day as coach Ross Lyon in late August.

Garlick was the chief executive of the Bulldogs between 2010-15, and more recently led Bastion EBA, an independent marketing, communications and commercial agency.

Near the end of his stint at the Dogs, then-captain Ryan Griffen demanded a bombshell trade to GWS and Brendon McCartney resigned as coach.

Garlick departed after appointing a new senior coach in Luke Beveridge, who went on to lead the Bulldogs to a drought-breaking premiership in 2016.

"I still maintain the experience I gained out of it was incredible," Garlick told reporters on Friday.

"Obviously I left it at a time where it was on the precipice of the ultimate success, which was fantastic. And I think just being a bit older and wiser, understanding that there are some things that are hard to learn unless you've been through those circumstances."

Garlick's arrival continues a raft of changes at Fremantle since the club posted their fourth straight year without a finals appearance.

Justin Longmuir has been appointed head coach on a three-year deal, while former Dockers and Power hard nut Josh Carr signed on as an assistant this week.

Club stalwarts Aaron Sandilands (retired) and Hayden Ballantyne (delisted) won't be at the club next season, while Ed Langdon was traded to Melbourne on Friday.

Wingman Brad Hill is eager to join St Kilda, but it remains to be seen if a deal can be struck.

The Dockers' off-field stocks also took a hit with membership numbers slumping 7.5 per cent in the 12 months to July 31.

"We need to engage with them," Garlick said.

"In reality, we started last year in a really strong fashion. Some injuries and exposing some young players meant that it probably didn't finish as well as what we'd like.

"I'd like to think with a relatively fresh team, from a leadership perspective within the organisation, that our members and supporters will be pretty enthusiastic about jumping on board next year."

Garlick won't start in a fulltime capacity until mid-November and is unlikely to have any significant role in the club's trade dealings.

The 44-year-old said he had been drawn to the region's rich football history and wanted to restore the club's on-field standing.

"We had a period of time at the Dogs where our relevance was questioned and I think it's in direct proportion to how you're going a lot of the time.

"My underlying feel is that there's respect, but there's also opportunity for that to grow," he said.