Rugby Victoria welcomes new appointees to Board of Directors

Fri, Jul 7, 2023, 4:43 AM
Rugby Vic Media
by Rugby Vic Media

New and re-elected Directors have been appointed by Rugby Victoria for the next two years, following the 2023 Rugby Victoria AGM.

At the 2023 Rugby Victoria AGM, Liz Radcliffe, Alan Latu, Joan Norton and William Smith were elected to the Board as Directors of Rugby Victoria by current members for a two-year term.

A further four Directors were selected by a nomination sub-committee as members of the Board, based on skillset or experience where their contributions will be to the benefit to the business of Rugby Victoria.

The skills identified that would complement those of the elected Directors were Legal, Marketing and Branding, Property and Facilities Management, Reputation Management, Communications and Sponsorship and Partnerships.

Rugby Victoria advertised for the Board appointed roles and were overwhelmed by the response from the Victorian community with 65 applications.

Rugby Victoria is pleased to announce that Maryjane Crabtree, Bryony Epa, Anthony Wright and Melanie Kawa have been appointed as Directors of Rugby Victoria until the 2025 AGM.

Joan Norton, William Smith Melanie Kawa and Anthony Wright are first-time Directors of the Rugby Victoria Board.

President Neil Hay said Rugby Victoria is delighted to welcome new and returning members to the Board.

“Rugby Victoria is pleased to welcome Joan, William, Melanie and Anthony as new Directors of Rugby Victoria and congratulates Elizabeth, Alan, Maryjane and Bryony on their return,” said Neil Hay.

Elizabeth Radcliffe

Elizabeth has over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the Victorian Government across environment protection, mining and emergency management. Elizabeth currently serves as Director of a renewable energy company focused on deploying wind energy generation technology as a replacement to retiring coal-fired power stations in Latrobe Valley.  

Elizabeth’s rugby journey began as a player in the early 1990s in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. Elizabeth has served on the Rugby Victoria Board since 2017 and was appointed Vice President in 2020. Elizabeth was a founding member of the WRDA in 1997, initially set up as a committee to facilitate communication between the then VRU and the new women’s teams.  Elizabeth was also selected for Victora’s senior women’s teams between 1998 and 2001.

Joan Norton

Joan has spent the last four years at Cricket Australia in both the Strategy and Media Rights teams, before recently accepting a new role at Swinburne University as the Head of Programs across their Innovation Precinct.

Joan has been a member of the rugby community for the past 25 years, first encountering the sport at university in the United States after a successful NCAA hockey career. Joan’s rugby career spanned several division-one women’s clubs, including making two National Championship tournament appearances with Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Football Club. Joan was a member of USA 7s Atlantis squad on two tours, making 18 appearances on the international circuit for the United States

Alan Latu

Alan has 26 years’ experience in security and emergency management working with people to build high performance teams, prioritising the teaching of leadership under adversity. Alan uses sport as a vehicle to build leadership, confidence and acceptance in young people by facilitating primary school incursions.  

Alan brings a wealth of rugby experience to the role having played first XV for over a decade, where he won three Dewar Shield Premierships with Box Hill Rugby Club and a further two with Power House Rugby Club as a playing Club President. Alan also played for the Victorian Axemen team and is also the Melbourne Rebels Ground Announcer.

Anthony Wright

Anthony is a corporate advisor, investor, lawyer, accountant and company director specialising in strategy, governance, innovation, growth initiatives and corporate culture. Anthony has held the role of Commercial and Marketing Director for the PGA Tour, is a board member at CPA Australia, and Metron Global and holds Executive Director roles at and Aruma Capital. He’s a former rugby player, coach, volunteer and administrator, originally from Queensland.

William Smith

William has over 15 years’ experience in boardrooms across the infrastructure and construction industries. William’s rugby experience commenced in Melbourne upon arrival to Australia six years ago, when he and his children joined Moorabbin. After joining the club, William was invited to take a seat as a regular committee member before becoming Vice President. During his time as Vice President, William has managed to raise several hundred thousand dollars in sponsorship, grow the women’s game, increase the number of juniors and seniors playing at Moorabbin and build a stronger community rugby club.

Melanie Kawa

Melanie is a Papua New Guinean-Australian public health professional and semi-professional rugby player living in Melbourne. Melanie has worked on international public health programs in partnership with the World Health Organisation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and most recently the Department of Health Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic. Melanie is a passionate advocate for girls and women’s sport and community initiatives in Victoria.  

Melanie is a former Captain of the Melbourne Rebels Super W team, and in 2021 she and her team became the first-ever Australian Super W women to be paid rugby athletes. Melanie also holds formal qualifications in communications and journalism and regularly commentates local live streamed matches and on Stan Sport.  Mel was brought into the Wallaroos camp in 2022 after impressing in the Super W competition and has also played rugby for Papua New Guinea Palais 7s and for top European side Montpellier Herault Rugby Club in France.

Maryjane Crabtree

Maryjane has over 33 years’ experience across law, management and governance roles. Maryjane trained as a Judicial Officer at the invitation of World Rugby in 2016. She has since focused on advocacy for cited players and was the designated Players Legal Representative for Japanese Rugby side Sunwolves and has also represented the Wallabies. She represented the Wallaroos at the Rugby World Cup 2022.

Maryjane was appointed to the board of Rugby Victoria in mid-2019. Rugby Victoria has forged a strong partnership with the State Government and is embarking on the construction of a State Centre for Excellence for the sport at La Trobe University. Maryjane is a member of the committee overseeing risk management for this project, and co-chairs the audit and risk committee. 

Bryony Epa

Bryony has a background in Disability Services, currently serving as the Director of Operations for Blue Sky Supports. Bryony is responsible for overseeing the development and continuous improvement of the organisations' governance arrangements and acts as a catalyst for improvement outcomes. Bryony is completing a Bachelor of Laws at Victoria University and has served as a member of the Rugby Victoria board since 2018.

Bryony has played Rugby in Victoria for over 20 years and has been a state representative. Bryony is the Co. Chair & Secretariat of the Pacific Cup Planning Committee and a former committee member of the Women’s Rugby Development Association.


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