By Ben Triandafillou
THE Frankston Dolphins have appointed the highly-respected ex-Hawthorn player, Gary Buckenara, as their new general manager to help gain re-entry back into the VFL for 2018.
Ending their 51-year association with the competition, the Frankston Dolphins were removed from the VFL due to grave financial issues at the end of last year.
Buckenara brings his extensive experience in football to the Dolphins, having recently spent a short period of time as a Hawthorn recruiter and played a crucial role in the club’s three-year premiership streak.
“Gary will bring his vast knowledge of the football industry and he will also give the profile of the club a huge boost with his contacts in football and in business,” Frankston Football Club operations manager Tina Bremert said.
“Already in his short time at the club we have noticed so much positivity and energy towards the Frankston Dolphins and the quest to get their VFL license back for the 2018 season.”
Buckenara said club officials were diligently working through AFL Victoria’s conditions that would enable the Dolphins to be reinstated.
“We have got criteria that we need to show AFL Victoria that we have ticked off and we apply to them on the 30th of June 2017 and a decision will be forthcoming from them late July-early August,” Ms Bremert said.
Buckenara is asking people to join and become members to assist in building a stronger membership culture that the club has recently lacked.
“One thing I know from my days at Hawthorn is that no one person can do it alone. We want the community to stand with us and support our work to rebuild the club,” Buckenara said.
“One of my first tasks is to get supporters and sponsors involved and to build a membership culture. I’m encouraging everyone to go to the club website and buy a 2017 membership package.
“It’s only $50 and gives people a chance to be a part of history and help get the Dolphins back in the VFL.
“We had 3245 people sign a ‘Stand with the Dolphins’ petition in late 2016 and now is the time to turn that support into the more tangible and real substance of club membership.”