What role does Neil Balme play at Richmond?

SEN - Fri, 8th Nov 2019 - 0 Comments

Neil Balme has been widely praised for achieving success wherever he goes.

Balme’s return to Richmond in late 2016 coincided with the club catapulting to the top of the AFL pile, highlighted by the drought-breaking 2017 premiership, emphatically accompanied by this year's flag.

The two-time Tigers premiership player also performed key roles at both Collingwood and Geelong during their eras of success in the early and late 2000s which took in Grand Finals with the Magpies and premierships with the Cats.

But as general manager of football, what does he actually do?

Balme has explained how he goes about his business and what type of ingredients go into the recipe for success.

“Now, probably because I’m a bit older and have been around for a while, I’m more kind of guidance,” he said on SEN Breakfast.

“In the good old days in the role, I used to do all the contracts and that stuff. Well now Blair (Hartley) does most of the contracts, Tim Livingstone does most of the direct work with the coach, and I’m sort of – not so much in the background – (but) as an advisor in lots of ways.

“A footy club is much bigger now than it was. We have our women’s program, which I’ve got some responsibility for. We’ve got our NextGeneration Academy stuff, which is not really footy in a sense, but it affects footy. So there’s all that stuff we have to keep an eye on.

“It’s not all purely training day or whatever. I’m across virtually everything that happens in footy. I just don’t have to do the work anymore.”

Balme joked: “This is my job – If something goes wrong, I find someone to blame, if it goes right, I take the credit.”

Asked if he could write the template for success for others to follow, Balme indicated it wasn’t as simple as that.

“I think you’re kidding yourself if you think you can,” he added.

“I think I know what works and what doesn’t. Most of it is, is all we’ve got is people. It’s just a matter of how people are managed and helped and encouraged, etc etc, rather than anything else.

“It’s not (just) some heap of writing and a strategic play.

“Obviously there needs to be a strategic plan, we need to know what our purpose is, we need to know all those things but the most important thing is how people work with each other along the way.

“If you don’t understand what other people want, you can’t help them get what they want and they can’t help you get what you want.”

Balme has been a key pillar of Richmond’s return to the top which has seen the Tigers improve from perennial strugglers to the competition’s elite outfit.

Listen to Balme on SEN Breakfast below: