Brisbane Lions young gun Tom Rockliff was revealed as one of nine new club delegates at the AFL Players’ Association directors and delegate’s conference last month.
Rockliff now joins Brent Staker as the Club’s official representatives on the AFLPA’s body of delegates.
The club delegates provide a crucial link between the Board of the Players’ Association and the remaining 40-odd players at their respective clubs.
Rockliff said he jumped at the opportunity to be one of the Lions’ representatives following the retirement of former Club delegate Amon Buchanan.
“I’ve always had an interest in the Players’ Associaiton and how it operates,” Rockliff told aflpa.com.au.
“Becoming a delegate gives you an insight into what is going on behind closed doors, and also gives you an opportunity to work closely with other AFL players who you don’t necessarily have contact with in anything else.”
Many past delegates have used their involvement with the players’ association as a launching pad for a career after football.
Rockliff, 22, has already started to look towards life after football. He plans to combine his position as a delegate with tertiary study within the next 12 months. Rockliff says the opportunity to be a club delegate is a great opportunity for professional development.
“Getting involved in a program like this and working your way up the ranks will help you post career and open doors for you and give you opportunities later in life,” he said.
It has been a rapid rise for Rockliff. After kicking a swag of goals for the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup including four in the grand final win over Dandenong Stingrays, a game best remembered for Steele Sidebottom’s ten, he was surprisingly overlooked in the 2008 national draft. The Lions snapped him up at pick five in the December pre-season draft and he hasn’t looked back.
In 52 games, Rockliff has transformed himself from nuggety half-forward to rock-hard ball magnet and the 2011 club champion.
Rockliff says that when he first got his chance at AFL level he was purely focused on establishing himself as a league player and playing his role within the team. But as he has begun to feel more comfortable in his skin he has looked to take a more holistic view towards the AFL industry.
“As you progress in your career you start to focus on the broader issues of the AFL and look at ways you can help where you can and look for new ideas going forward,” he said.
Rockliff’s first duty as a club delegate will be to report back to his players on the key issues discussed at the directors and delegates conference. These include the illicit drugs policy, future planning including a new digital strategy, potential rule changes and scheduling.
He says the players always provide a receptive audience and are committed to be as informed as possible.
“Our group is pretty engaged, this will be the first time I’ve presented back but have previously seen the positive response from the boys when Stakes (Brent Staker) and Amon (Buchanan) have reported back.”
The AFL Players’ Association board and club delegates for 2013 are as follows.
Luke Ball (President)
Luke Power (Vice-President)
DELEGATE / ALTERNATE DELEGATE
Ben Rutten / Patrick Dangerfield
Brent Staker / Tom Rockliff
Brock McLean / Lachie Henderson
Tyson Goldsack / Alan Toovey
Ben Howlett / David Myers
David Mundy / Matt De Boer
Jimmy Bartel / Tom Longeran
Campbell Brown / Maverick Weller
Jonathan Giles / Phil Davis
Josh Gibson / Isaac Smith
Lynden Dunn / Jack Trengove
Andrew Swallow / Jamie MacMillan
Jay Schulz / Matt Thomas
Ivan Maric / Tyrone Vickery
Leigh Montagna / Ben McEvoy
Jude Bolton / Ted Richards
Will Minson / Shaun Higgins
Will Schofield / Scott Selwood