Wests Group Announces Successful Candidates Elected to the Board of Directors

The Wests Group Australia is pleased to announce the successful candidates elected to its Board of Directors following a recent ballot by members. Joining the existing Directors are newly appointed board member Tony Keating, along with re-elected directors Sam Poolman and Tony Price.

Tony Keating expressed his gratitude for the support of the members and his excitement for the challenges that lie ahead in his new role on the Board. He acknowledged the privilege of joining an organisation that is a leader in the Leisure and Lifestyle industry and sets standards for hospitality, leisure, healthy lifestyle, and sporting excellence, particularly through the development of Rugby League.

Tony brings to the directorship a depth and diversity of lived experience. A graduate of Newcastle University, following schooling in Newcastle, he has a professional background in teaching Economics and Business Studies. In recent years, he has held leadership roles in schools in the lower Hunter region. Tony also has a successful representative sporting background and administrative leadership with sporting and community groups, earning life membership in several of those organisations.

As a long-term elected Local Government representative, including his role as Deputy Mayor of Maitland City Council, Tony has played a significant role in shaping the infrastructure and social fabric of his community. His capacity to foresee and embrace opportunities is reflected in his successful small family business ownership in the transport and property sectors, as well as his interests in thoroughbred horse racing.

In response to the evolving landscape, Tony Keating highlighted the need for innovative strategies to create new opportunities for members and diversified income streams into the future. He also emphasised the importance of responding to probable legislative changes, new technologies, and generational shifts in member interaction and spending.

Geoff Coburn, President of the Wests Group, commented, "Wests is a business that thrives on change and challenge. We are excited to have Tony Keating join our Board to help navigate these changes and seize future opportunities, ensuring our continuing success. Tony's wealth of experience and his ability to build relationships will be valuable assets in our decision-making processes."

In addition to Tony Keating, the Wests Group is proud to welcome the reappointment of Sam Poolman and Tony Price to the Board of Directors. Geoff Coburn acknowledged their exceptional knowledge, experience, and passion for their respective sports, business, and community leadership, stating, "We are delighted to have Sam and Tony continue their contributions to the Board. Their expertise will be instrumental in driving the growth and relevance of the Wests Group."

Philip Gardner, CEO of the Wests Group, expressed his enthusiasm for the appointments, stating, "We are thrilled to have new board member Tony Keating join our existing directors Sam Poolman and Tony Price on the Board of Directors. Their passion, experience, and diverse skill sets will be invaluable in guiding the future of the Wests Group."

View the full list of our Board of Directors here.

Welcome Sam Poolman

Changing Of the Guard

Local Elite Athlete Samantha Poolman named as Board Member for The Wests Group Australia

Owen Kilpatrick, who contributed 53 years of service on the board of Newcastle’s largest Clubs group – The Wests Group Australia, has announced his retirement. Owen who held Chair for sixteen years and who has over 50 years on the Board, has been responsible with The Board for driving the organisation through its most pivotal years in the 62-year history of the Wests Group.

Owen was succeeded by Geoff Coburn as Chair of the Group in 2022 and remained for a period as a board member, stepping down in retirement last month.

This move has paved the way for a new addition to the Board, and Wests today announced the vacancy has been filled by former elite athlete Sam Poolman, who played elite netball for the past ten years, Captained the Australian Team in 2018 in the Fast 5 Netball World Series and was a Board Member of the Players Association for many years.

Crediting her passion for netball and eagerness to give back to her community started with Wests Leagues Netball Club. Sam has been heavily involved and connected to the Wests community right through her career and continues today, coaching grassroots netballers from Wests Leagues Netball Club.

In fact, Sam has a pedigree of many life members within her family, including her paternal grandfather who was a founding member of the famed Wests 200’s Club, her brother Luke a life member of Wests Rosella’s and her grandmother, Trish a life member of Wests Leagues Netball Club. Sam claims that Wests has always been in her blood.

She has a strong belief that career successes arise from the values and personal attributes instilled in her in her early years playing sport and hopes that she can also perform an integral role in fostering a new generation of people to become active, healthy and valuable members of society through a life-long love of sport.

“As an elite athlete l have learned how to perform in a high-pressure environment. I have always placed a great deal of emphasis on setting good foundations and believe my foundations have led me to a long and successful career as an elite athlete, board member, brand ambassador and businesswoman. I have developed a well-rounded skill set and educational understanding which l believe will benefit The Wests Group in numerous areas, particularly in grassroots and women’s sport.” Comments Sam Poolman.

Alongside Sam’s board commitments she is a Director of Aspire Netball which has sustained success in our region, works as an Expert Commentator with Fox Sports for the Super Netball, works alongside a number of sporting organisation in the region, and is Head of Athlete Development and Foundation Officer at Newcastle Grammar School.

“I admire and respect Owen for his incredible contribution, his passion for West’s and the legacy he will leave on our community and the board for generations to come. His long service to the Wests Group and to the Rosella’s is unrivalled and something we won’t see again in our lifetime. I feel very privileged to be joining the board and commit to serving our members and community with the same passion and integrity.” Comments Poolman of former Wests Chair, Owen Kilpatrick’s recent retirement.

"We are thrilled to welcome Sam Poolman to The Wests Group Board, especially at a time when we are placing great emphasis on women's sport and grassroots development. With her extensive experience as an elite athlete, board member, and community leader, Sam will bring a fresh perspective and valuable insights to the table. Her appointment fills a significant gap left by Owen Kilpatrick's retirement and reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting local talent and promoting healthy, active lifestyles in our region." says Philip Gardner CEO, The Wests Group.

View the full list of our Board of Directors here.

Mayoral Sponsorship Winners 2023

Changing Of the Guard

We would like to congratulate Ebony Newton and Isaac Lyon for being selected as the winners of the 2023 Port Stephens Council Mayoral Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to students who live in Port Stephens and are starting their first year of tertiary studies at a university, TAFE, or a recognized private tertiary provider.

The scholarship provides $2,000 to help cover the costs of their first-year tertiary studies, Ebony is currently pursuing a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science at the University of Newcastle, while Isaac is studying for a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies / Environment & Sustainability. We are thrilled to see young individuals like them pursue their passions and work towards achieving their dreams.

Once again, congratulations to Ebony and Isaac, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

Welcome Tony Price

Changing Of the Guard

The Wests Group Australia has appointed Tony Price to the Board of Directors

Tony Price has formally been appointed as a Director of Western Suburbs (N'cle) Leagues Club Limited (and each company in the Wests Group) effective 27 October 2022.

Tony’s appointment to the Board will complement the Board's skills and experience and assist the Directors to fulfil their duties.

With a strong background in banking, his own successful business in the IT industry, and an avid Rugby League supporter, recently retired Price brings strong financial and business acumen to the group, joining the Board members to steer the region’s largest Club’s group into the future.

“Tony is a very welcome addition to the Board. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge of the business world having owned and operated a very successful business for many years. He has had a long and distinguished career in rugby league and is Life Member of the West Rosellas. Tony is a man of integrity and is someone who will be an effective team member. The Board are all excited about Tony’s appointment.” says Geoff Coburn, President of the Wests Group.

Tony’s success came from many years of hard work establishing a local IT business OAS which launched a successful platform of cloud-based technology with its headquarters in Newcastle and expanded rapidly over recent years. With offices and staff all over New South Wales and customers from all around the globe, it was a New York based fund that recently acquired the OAS business from Price, and in his words “freed up some time to be able to give back to the local community”, hence joining the Wests Board.

“I feel privileged to be able to join a team of strong leaders from the executive through to the board, of an already successful organisation, and can hopefully bring some strong business acumen to assist with further growth and ensuring relevance in the future. I’m committed to serving a Board which has an objective of being inclusive in our community.” adds Price

“One thing that has always struck me at every level of involvement with Wests is that they are good hearted, good minded, community people, who support local. At the end of the day Wests was started to propagate Rugby League, now it’s really sport in general, and everyone in the community can benefit by having an association with Wests.”

Tony played football for Wests throughout the 1990’s, was captain in 1997-1999, and was selected in the “team of the century” in 1999. He later became coach.

Tony, who is the father of 4 boys, lives in Bar Beach with his wife.

Changing of the Guard

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.

The 2022 Port Stephens Council Mayoral Scholarships

Wests are proud community sponsors of the 2022 Port Stephens Council Mayoral Scholarships. If you know someone who lives in Port Stephens and is beginning their first year of university, TAFE or other recognised private tertiary providers next year, this could be their calling! This opportunity helps students cover the costs of their studies with $2,000 awarded to the lucky recipient/s. Applications now open. Learn more.

Wests New Lambton to trial the Digital Wallet


The NSW Government has today announced that it has approved a trial of cashless technology, identifying leading hospitality operator the Wests Group as partner of the trial. Aristocrat Gaming’s Prime Mobile Solution will run a limited trial of its cashless payment technology at Wests New Lambton on 36 machines only.

Always at the forefront of innovation, Wests is excited to have been selected for this trial which will improve the patron experience and introduce a new level of convenience.

Cashless transactions are now widely available across pubs, clubs and other venues for many services and offers. Cash is still accepted everywhere in the business.

Get ready for the digital wallet trial, download the Wests Rewards App today.


The Wests Group alongside the nib Newcastle Knights are committed to supporting women in sport in the local community.

Recently the Minerva Network announced that Jemma Smith, one of the shooting stars of the Surf Life Saving disciplines in Australia- has been awarded the inaugural Newcastle Knights Minerva Scholarship.

Together Wests and the Newcastle Knights provided Jemma with a $10,000 12 month scholarship in conjunction with The Minerva Network to enable Jemma to complete her 2021 studies at the University of Newcastle (UON) while continuing to meet her training commitments.


Find out more about the support the Minerva Network provides to women in sport.


Wests Group has signed on as the maiden subscriber to Lake Macquarie council's super-fast internet initiative Fibre City.

Read More | Watch Video




A lucky Wests member has claimed over $1.3 million dollars on a winning Keno Classic 10 ticket at Wests City!

Read More




At Wests, looking after you, our team and the wider community is our priority.

Our COVID Safe plan includes our commitment to the wellbeing of members and employees, physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning as well as record keeping.

Find out more about the measures we have in pace as part of our COVID-19 safety plan, providing you and your family with a safe and clean venue.



Wests New Lambton, Mayfield, Cardiff, City and Nelson Bay are open in a modified format providing access for Wests members only from 10am daily (Wests New Lambton from 9am on weekends).

Our dining outlets, gaming lounges and bars will be open with social distancing in place.

Find Out More...


Our very own Spa Lucca, located at The Anchorage in Port Stephens, was named alongside luxurious spas in New York, Paris, London, Tokyo and LA by Harpers Bazaar!

Article below or view here.


13 / 18


A telltale sign you're besotted with the location of your spa jaunt: you start googling houses for sale in the area minutes after you've checked in. I plonk down my towel next to my poolside sun lounger, take in the view over Port Stephens—in the foreground, a marina filled with superyachts; in the distance, Corrie Island—then log on to realestate.com.au and start plotting how to turn this scene into a daily reality.

The Anchorage at Port Stephens has just undergone a super-stylish refurb and I'm hooked. This neck of the woods—26 beaches in total, give or take a cove—is two and a half hours' drive from Sydney and breathtakingly beautiful, with pockets resembling Hawaii. (Trek up to Tomaree Head lookout and you'll see what we mean). That said, it's a tourist hotspot, the accommodation a hotchpotch of caravan parks, low-rise holiday apartments and quintessential Aussie beach shacks.

"Hamptons" is a term we all throw around with abandon to describe the popular decorating style associated with the resort towns of Long Island, New York, but there's a reason everyone loves that restrained palette of pale grey, navy, cream and white. It makes stressed-out city slickers feel calm and serene. The Anchorage's interiors are Amagansett on steroids, helped no doubt by the fact the accommodation fronts an unspoilt bay and natural dunes, while balconies and chic black-and-white striped umbrellas lend a summery look.

Image: @theanchorageportstephen


14 / 18


Money has been poured into this place (it was previously a Peppers-branded property pre-refurb), and it shows. Particularly in Spa Lucca, which is set over two floors and boasts four treatment rooms, two of which are couples' suites, and a Vichy shower room. Robed up, I hit the steam room and heated whirlpool to prep for what I'm road-testing: a Body Polish, Wrap & Spa Jet Capsule Experience ($235). I'm not a fan of Vichy showers, so feel a tad meh about the whole thing until I actually see the 'pod' I'm about to climb inside. This is water therapy on a whole other level. Think various Vichy shower and water massage techniques, vibration massage, steam, infra-red and ceramic dry heat plus LED colour therapy—which, spa manager Danielle Bondini explains, adds an emotional element to the treatment. "LED also has healing benefits for skin," she explains. "The red light deeply penetrates to boost collagen production, while the purple and blue lights work on the surface and are more calming."

The 75-minute treatment starts with a body exfoliation using Sodashi Jojoba Bead Body Polish, followed by a firming French pink-clay body mask that hopefully reduces a few new stretch marks I've acquired. To enhance the effect of the active ingredients, the steam and infra-heat component kicks in, which, when combined with the shower jets—and the constantly changing coloured lights—is when the magic happens. The light energy takes on a therapeutic aspect when it's in a specific wavelength so your skin cells convert that energy into ATP. In non-scientific speak, this is like filling up the petrol tank of your collagen-making cells.

I'm warned things will get hot, but because my face is sectioned off in another area of the pod and has a beautiful cooling breeze focused on it, I'm OK. The only component of the treatment I truly struggle with is the tail end: the bit where you have to sit up and dry off. You know that vacant look newborns get? Guilty. I grab my robe, shuffle back to my room and muster just enough energy to scour the real estate sites for a refresh. Priorities, people.—Eugenie Kelly

Image: @theanchorageportstephen


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres has today joined Newcastle Knights Chief Executive Officer Philip Gardner to unveil plans for the long anticipated Newcastle Knights Centre of Excellence.

“This state-of-the-art facility will foster rugby league at all levels – from juniors to professionals – with three new training fields and multi-purpose facilities,” Mr Ayres said.

“The new Centre of Excellence will be the first high-performance rugby league training facility between Sydney and the Gold Coast and for the first time ever players will have a pre-game warm up area.”


The NSW Government is contributing $10 million towards the Knights Centre of Excellence, matched by $10 million from the Newcastle Knights owners The Wests Group.

Minister Ayres today also confirmed the location for the facility as adjacent to McDonald Jones Stadium’s Southern Grandstand inside the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct at Broadmeadow.

Newcastle Knights Chief Executive Officer Philip Gardner said the centre will be a massive boost for the Knights which are the number one supported professional team in regional NSW.

“With playing fields proposed for nearby District Park land - this will enable the Knights to bring their entire operations into one facility, reducing costs, improving integration outcomes and providing an additional venue for local and regional community needs,” Mr Gardner said.

The NRL Centre of Excellence fund was created after the NSW Government redirected funds previously allocated as cash payments for NRL Grand Finals towards community based Centres of Excellence. Funding has been approved for five NSW NRL Clubs - the Bulldogs, the Knights, the Rabbitohs, the Roosters and the Sharks, in a dollar for dollar match of each club’s contribution.

MEDIA: Amanda Choularton | Minister Ayres | 0428 754 324

Amy Ziniak | Newcastle Knights | 0400 761 741

Jack Ashman retires from Wests Group board

LIFE MEMBER - Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club Ltd

LIFE MEMBER - Western Suburbs (Ncle) Leagues Club Ltd

The Wests Group would like to place on record its appreciation of the work of Jack Ashman, who stepped down from the Wests Group board earlier this year after 16 years.

Mr Ashman, a licensed bookmaker and retired university lecturer, has been an instrumental part of the Wests Group’s development.

“I would like to thank Jack for his significant contribution to the Wests Group over the past 16 years,” says Owen Kilpatrick, chairman of the Wests Group.

“Jack’s knowledge and prompt decision making was a huge benefit to me as chairman.”

Philip Gardner, CEO of The Wests Group, says, “Jack’s contribution to the continual development of the Wests Group cannot be understated, and I thank him for the part he has played.”

Over his time on the board the club’s assets have grown from $74m to over $300m.

Sound governance is the hallmark of all successful organisations. Jack’s input as part of the board has allowed the club, over the last 16 years, to expand by merging with Nelson Bay RSL, Cardiff Panthers, City Panthers, as well as recently acquiring the Newcastle Knights.

Jack’s advice and good humour will be missed around the board table.

The Wests Group appoints Katie Brassil to board

22 February 2018


The Wests Group Australia has appointed Katie Brassil to its board of directors.

Katie Brassil has been formally appointed as a director of the board, effective from 22 February 2018 with an honorarium of $25,000 per annum.

Katie's appointment to the board will complement the board's skills and experience and assist them with their duties.

Katie is also Executive General Manager External Affairs for Centennial Coal, is a director of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and the Hunter Tafe Foundation, and has over 30 years' experience in the private sector and all three tiers of government. She is an expert in stakeholder engagement and consultation, economic development and public and government relations.

From 2014 to 2017 she also served on the board of the Newcastle Knights, which The Wests Group purchased late last year.

"I am delighted to be joining such an extremely successful and highly regarded organisation," says Brassil. "As well as the obvious gender diversity my appointment brings a diversity of career experiences and personal skills."

Philip Gardner, CEO of The Wests Group, says, "Katie's appointment is a significant moment in the history of The Wests Group. She brings great expertise in business and government.

"Having a diverse board is essential to the continued growth and development of the business, and we look forward to Katie extending her influence across The Wests Group."

Katie has been appointed for a period of three years, to fill the casual vacancy created by the retirement of Jack Ashman.

Early renewal $20,000 winner

1 December 2017 Members who renewed their membership for 2018 on or before 30 November were given an entry into a draw to win $20,000 of Charlestown Square EFTPOS cards.

Congratulations to Elaine Randall, who was the lucky member drawn at random from our barrel of entries.

Join Today