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The Board

  • Geoff Coburn - President
  • Katie Brassil - Director
  • John Campion - Director
  • Robert Darcy - Director
  • Wayne Hore - Director
  • Owen Kilpatrick - Director
  • John McLaughlin - Director
  • Philip Gardner - CEO

Changing of the Guard



After over 50 years on the Board, last 16 years as President, Mr Kilpatrick has stood down as President with the intention of retiring from the Board sometime early in 2023.

Director, Geoff Coburn, was unanimously elected by the Board to the position of President.

Geoff is committed to supporting the development of the West Rosellas in the Newcastle competition and the Newcastle Knights in the NRL in both Male and Female competition. Wests was originally established to promote and foster participation in Rugby League and remains true to that vision of the founding members.

“Owen is a person that I respect immensely. I have observed him lead the Board in many pivotal events over that time period. He has been a strong leader who has listened to the views of others and acted with honesty and integrity at all times. Owen will be remembered for his passion for Wests. Every decision that he made was underpinned by his strong values and what was in the best interest of our members and community. A Wests man through and through!” comments Geoff Coburn.

Owen Kilpatrick - Biography

Having played 135 grade games for the Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club, Owen Kilpatrick was bestowed Life Membership of the Club. In 1971 at age 28 and the same year as he completed his on-field career Owen joined the Board as the youngest director. During Owen’s 51-year tenure, and more specifically during his 16 years as Chair, Wests has prospered from its early football beginnings to an organisation with more than 150,000 members and employing more than 1,200 staff across the Group. He was also instrumental in Wests' acquisition of the Newcastle Knights Rugby League team in 2017 and in fielding the Knights first-ever NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership side in the rescheduled 2021 season.

Geoff Coburn - Biography

Born and bred in Newcastle, Geoff Coburn has had a long association with Wests. He started playing with Wests in 1975 with the U19 team and progressed to play grade from 1976 -1980 and again from 1985-1988. As a semi-professional league player, he played in the NSWRL Premiership with Parramatta and Newtown from 1981 to 1984 before returning to the West Rosellas. Geoff was awarded Life membership of the West Rosellas Rugby League Club for playing 100 1st Grade games. He played a number of reserve grade games for the inaugural Newcastle Knights side in 1988, whilst playing for West in the local competition. He then retired from playing at the end of the 1988 season. He coached both junior and grade teams for West Rosellas in the mid-1990s. Geoff joined the Wests Board in 1992 and was awarded Life Membership of the West Group in 2003 for service to the Board.

Geoff holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary)and a Diploma of Teaching in PDHPE. He retired from Lambton High School in 2019 having contributed 40 years of service with The NSW Department of Education.