Ross Oakley

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Ross Oakley
Personal information
Full name Ross Oakley
Date of birth (1942-09-30) 30 September 1942 (age 75)
Original team(s) Wesley College
Height 178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 81 kg (179 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1962–1966 St Kilda 62 (38)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1966.
Sources: AFL Tables,

Ross Oakley (born 30 September 1942) is an Australian businessman and former Australian rules footballer with St Kilda in the VFL. He is CEO of the Victorian Rugby Union[1] and was appointed CEO of the new the Melbourne Rebels rugby union franchise in September 2010.[2][3][4][5]

Playing career[edit]

Oakley attended Wesley College, Melbourne[6] and began his senior VFL footballing career with the St Kilda Football Club in 1962. He went on to score 38 goals in 62 games.[7][8] His career was marred by unfortunate knee injuries; the first came in 1965 in St Kilda's semi-final victory, which meant Oakley missed the Grand Final.[citation needed] He suffered déjà vu in 1966, missing not only the Grand Final, but St Kilda's first VFL premiership.[citation needed] Following a further injury before the start of the 1967 season, Oakley retired at the age of 24.

Executive career[edit]

Oakley was appointed Chairman and CEO of the then troubled Victorian Football League in 1986, taking over the role from Jack Hamilton, remaining in the role until the end of the 1996 season.[7] Over the decade that followed Ross oversaw the transformation of the VFL into the Australian Football League. Under Oakley's guidance, five new clubs from outside Victoria — Brisbane Bears and West Coast Eagles (1986), Adelaide (1990), Fremantle (1994) and Port Adelaide (1996) — joined the more professional, national competition.[9] In 1993, he oversaw the transfer of administrative control of the league from the clubs to the AFL Commission,[10] as well as the formal transfer of control of the sport as a whole from the National Australian Football Council to the AFL Commission.

During his time with the VFL/AFL, he was deeply involved in mergers, as his administration believed that the number of Victorian clubs, many of which were in a poor financial state, was unsustainable. Victorian clubs were offered incentive packages of up to $6M to merge during his tenure. The only merger completed during his tenure was between Fitzroy and Brisbane Bears, but proposed mergers between Fitzroy and Footscray in 1989 and Melbourne and Hawthorn in 1996 came very close to fruition as well. However, the merger years caused great off-field discord among clubs and fans, and the merger strategy was abandoned after Oakley was succeeded by Wayne Jackson as CEO at the end of 1996.[11]

In 2009 Oakley was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as an administrator.[2][12][9] His previous career included management of insurance companies (e.g. AAMI), and he was chief executive of Royal Insurance[2] (which may have led to media jibes that he was an "insurance salesman").[citation needed]

Oakley's appointment as Melbourne Rebels' CEO was announced 9 September 2010, when the Rebels also said the franchise was to join forces with the Victorian Rugby Union to build rugby union in Victoria, at both professional and amateur levels.[2][3] Oakley became CEO to fill the gap left by the resignation of Rebels' founding CEO Brian Waldron who resigned in early 2010 in the wake of the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal.[4]

Oakley holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Melbourne Business School.[citation needed] He is a former Adjunct Professor at Deakin University's Faculty Business and Law,[13] where he also lectured.[14]

Board positions[edit]

Ross Oakley is a former Chairman of Royal Australian Holdings Ltd, Royal Life Insurance Australia Ltd, and the State Training Board of Victoria. He is listed as Chairman of the Get Going Sport Foundation, and he has served as director on the boards of AAMI Ltd and Tisdall Wines.[15][16] Between 1997 and 2001 Oakley was a director of Harris Scarfe Holdings Limited.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "VRU Staff & Board of Directors". Victorian Rugby Union. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Victorian Rugby Announces New Management Structure" (Press release). Melbourne Rebels. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Schlink, Leo (9 September 2010). "Melbourne Rebels land former AFL boss Ross Oakley". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Harris, Bret (10 September 2010). "Ross Oakley appointed CEO of Melbourne Rebels and Victorian Rugby Union". Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Rebels turn to former AFL chief". ABC Sport. Australian Broadcasting Commission. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Wesley College Sport". Melbourne, Australia: Wesley College. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Witham, Jennifer (21 May 2009). "Ross Oakley profile". AFL News. Melbourne, Australia: AFL BigPond Network. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  8. ^ AFL Statistics
  9. ^ a b Blake, Martin (22 May 2009). "Oakley makes Hall of Fame". Age. Melbourne: Fairfax. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Stephen Linnell (2 March 1993). "Clubs give up their control". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. pp. 38, 34. 
  11. ^ Mike Sheahan; Michelle Edmonds (4 October 1996). "Clubs death fear". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. pp. 1–2. 
  12. ^ Sheahan, Mike (22 May 2009). "Ross Oakley admitted to the hall he created". Herald Sun. Melbourne: News Limited. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Australia: Deakin University. July 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Ross Oakley Biography". Melbourne, Australia: ICMI Leadership Speakers. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Ross Oakley". Motivational Guest Speakers. Queensland, Australia: Sports Corp Elite. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  16. ^ "About Get Going". Get Going. North Balwyn, Vic, Australia: Get Going Sport Foundation. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 

External links[edit]