“He played rugby for Kiama and I believe for West Harbour, so he understands community rugby and the professional side of things. He’s been the CEO of Venues NSW, so he understands stadia, which is important because we have our high performance centre being built and we had ongoing negotiations with the [Sydney Cricket Ground] Trust over our right to return to the [former Allianz Stadium]. He ticks all the boxes.”
Doorn takes over from predecessor Andrew Hore, who defected to the Auckland Blues late last year. He will run the Waratahs at a challenging time, with a new broadcast rights deal being negotiated by Rugby Australia and a format change to round robin that will strip the state of one or two home games in alternate years.
Home games are the Super Rugby clubs’ main opportunity to bring in independent revenue. They largely depend on funding from RA, which comes through the broadcast deal, making the current rights process a critical part of the Waratahs’ commercial prospects moving forward.
Doorn said he was delighted to be appointed to the role.
“Having been involved in roles that support NSW to compete globally, I have a great appreciation for the importance of a thriving and inspiring sporting brand that binds communities together,” he said.
“The opportunities to grow NSW Rugby’s market share and solidify NSWRU’s position as a leader in the Australian sports market are vast, and I look forward to working closely with the board and fellow senior leaders to realise these exciting opportunities.
“It’s an exciting time for rugby in NSW with the Centre of Excellence development being the first step in growing our great game across the state, from the grassroots to our Super Rugby and Super W teams.
“I’m particularly looking forward to working with the NSW Rugby Union Board to rebuild our connection to the community and develop pathways for our rugby stars of the future.”
Doorn beat a field of about 125 applicants, which was shortlisted to five in recent weeks.
Davis said the board taskforce in charge of overseeing the process, which also included NSW president Al Baxter and former Norths president Tony Crawford, were pleased with interest in the job.
“It was a really thorough process that uncovered an extraordinary array of impressive people who put their hands up for the job,” he said.
“I was really, really impressed by the enthusiasm for the game we encountered. We beat ourselves up mercilessly and it was terrific to be able to see someone who loves the game and feels he can make a difference. And there were many other worthy candidates.”
Georgina Robinson is the chief rugby reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.