The Courier-Mail

Conlon puts numbers on board, then steps down

- ANDREW HAMILTON

AFLQ chief executive Michael Conlan has left his post after overseeing a recordbrea­king year for the code.

Conlan (right) drove significan­t growth in participat­ion during his 3½-year reign, restructur­ed football operations and delivered a newlook NEAFL competitio­n.

He was also a driving force behind the rise of Queensland’s elite under-aged programs, with the introducti­on of full-time high-performanc­e state coaches for the male and female programs.

Participat­ion numbers during his tenure grew from 133,209 at the end of 2011 to 216,000.

The hunt for a new CEO will be led by AFL executive Simon Lethlean. AFL execu- tives and staff were in Brisbane this week to finalise Conlan’s departure.

The decision was made on Wednesday at a meeting with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, who will attend today’s LionsBulld­ogs match at the Gabba.

“The growth of participat­ion in Queensland is a great reflection of the work done by AFLQ under Michael’s leadership,” McLachlan said.

Conlan told staff of his departure yesterday morning.

“I had been wanting to get home to family for a while and I just thought it was time,” he said. “I’m going to have a bit of time off and then see what opportunit­ies are going to be around.”

Meanwhile, Gold Coast Suns coach Rodney Eade said he expected significan­t improvemen­t next year after the club was forced to learn some tough lessons during a shocking 2015 season.

“It is not all fixed because we have to keep growing,’’ Eade said. “We have made ground, and we have still got ground to go because what we are measuring ourselves on is winning a premiershi­p.”

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