New Wilston Grange president makes history

Saturday was a special day for Brie Weatherstone, the Wilston Grange Football Club, and Queensland footy.

It was announced at the President’s Lunch, that at the end of this year, Weatherstone will take the presidency reins of Wilston Grange, making her the first ever-female president of a state league club.

In the space of a year she has gone from player, to vice president, to president elect.

“This is my first year on the committee. The club introduced an executive this year, which sits over the junior club and senior club. They need to run as separate entities for various reasons, so In order to coordinate them as one club we introduced this executive and that’s how I got involved.” Weatherstone said.

Weatherstone, a commercial lawyer by trade, was initially taken aback by the magnitude of work involved in running a football club, but once she settled into the role, her ideas and suggestions were a key factor in the clubs evolution this year.

“The day to day running of a football club is really challenging, Brett Gillett does a great job, he is a machine with how he gets things done,” she said.

“This year we have introduced a lot of new governance process and systems to make those processes easier. We are always progressing and can always do things better.”

“We are on the start of this new journey.”

Once in the position, current President Brett Gillett immediately saw her as the perfect candidate to take over the role he has held for 10 years.

“I wouldn’t say I had my eye on it, but Brett did touch base with me a couple of months ago and asked me what I thought. I said I would be happy to be involved,” Weatherstone said.

“There is always a degree of hesitation, only because it was my first year in administration and there is a lot to get across for a club of this size and of this stature but who wouldn’t say yes.”

Weatherstone has been playing footy for over six years. It’s what brought her to Wilston Grange, and it is what she will strive to grow even further.  

“Female footy is a huge element of our club and it’s really important to me,” she said.

“I’m very passionate about women’s footy, this club is very passionate about women’s footy.

“Brett’s philosophy when he brought us on was that there is two senior teams at this club, a senior men’s team and a senior women’s team. They both deserve a degree of respect and the club treats both teams equally.

“Obviously I have a promotion role of women’s footy throughout the club and I will carry that forward.”

She hopes that her new role will encourage other females to get involved in the game, and in the administrative side of things.

“We have got so many young girls taking up the sport now and I only see that increasing when they see women running these organisations and influencing decisions,” she said.

She might be a trailblazer in the QAFL, but there will be a certain number on her speed-dial if she ever needs advice.

“I did a Master of Business Administration at UQ under Sarah Kelly, who is on the Brisbane Lions board,” Weatherstone said.

“We have got a really good relationship, so I will be looking to her for tips and tricks.

She hasn’t committed to playing in 2015, but if she does, the president might have a bit of extra pull with the coach.

“I think I’ll have my way into the coach’s ear when I think things should be changed on field or off,” she joked.

Weatherstone will officially take over at the conclusion of the 2015, but with a lot happening down at PBI Oval, including the beginning of a new club room being built, there will be no rest for the wicked before then.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

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