Northern Blues general manager role to be absorbed into Carlton staff under shake-up

THE future of veteran Northern Blues general manager Garry O’Sullivan is under a cloud.

The Blues’ general manager role has been advertised in recent weeks, with a focus on “increasing and driving revenue across the club”.

O’Sullivan has been in the role for more than a decade, appointed when the club was known as Northern Bullants.

He has since overseen a period of significant change which has included a shift toward the club being operated by Carlton Football Club.

President Stephen Papal said Northern Blues would have “the same board set up” next year, but the club’s general manager would be a member of Carlton’s staff.

He said O’Sullivan had been offered the chance to reapply.

“Carlton has put real emphasis on their development,” Papal said.

“If you look at next year, all of our line coaches will be development coaches.

“To bring that in sync they wanted their football manager to also be under their employment, so the whole thing is ran from Carlton.

“It is imperative that their development is first-class.”

Papal said those who thought the VFL was not a development competition were “kidding themselves”.

“This is my 12th year and it has been like that from day dot,” he said.

“Our competition is a development competition to serve the AFL.

“We are not a rivalry competition. Anyone who thinks any different is kidding themselves.

“We are there to aid and develop players for the AFL, as simple as that. That Preston VFA, that rivalry competition … that went out in 2007 when I started.”

Carlton’s VFL Women’s team is set to play curtain-raisers before VFL games next year, replacing the axed Development League.

The Blues president said it was better for the club “to exist in part than not exist at all”, adding the alignment with Carlton had been “fantastic”.

“We have still got a big role to play in the community,” Papal said.

“Carlton is very invested in the north. They have been fantastic, Carlton, to the Northern Bullants and Northern Blues, over many years.”

Papal said he expected the club’s general manager to be confirmed before Christmas.