From Good To Great: Rise Of Richmond Football Club


Breaking an almost four-decade long premiership draught is among Peggy O’Neal AO’s fondest memories of her tenure as president of the Richmond Football Club.

O’Neal, who served as club president from 2013 to 2022, will join Tigers’ CEO Brendon Gale on stage for the 2024 Deakin University David Parkin Oration on March 26.

In conversation with renowned sports broadcaster Tim Lane, the pair will share what went on behind the scenes of the history-making win, the ambitious vision they built for the club and how they dealt with the doubters, the non-believers and an impatient board and fanbase hungry for results.

‘I loved my time at Richmond, the good and the not-so-good. All those experiences combined to allow me to witness a cultural change and to see good people identify their purpose and achieve a common goal,’ O’Neal said.

‘While I was on the board, we were also able to establish the Korin Gamadji Institute, to stabilise finances, start our relationship with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School, and to provide a home for the Bachar Houli Academy.’

O’Neal, a lawyer and trailblazer for women in sport, made AFL history as the league’s first female club president and served on the Tigers’ board for 17 years.

Now the Chancellor of RMIT University, she oversaw a golden era in Richmond’s history when it ended a 37-year premiership drought in 2017 before winning back-to-back premierships in 2019 and 2020.

Gale, also a lawyer, played 244 games for the club from1990 to 2001 and was appointed Richmond’s CEO in 2009 and Executive Director in 2015. He was awarded a life membership in 2000 and previously served as CEO of the AFL Players Association.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the David Parkin Oration promoted the advancement of public knowledge in sport and highlighted the way policy, practice and debate in sport could act as a driver for social change.

‘We are thrilled to have Peggy and Brendon join the highly respected broadcaster Tim Lane for what promises to be a rich discussion about the challenges and opportunities of leadership in sport,’ Professor Martin said.

The annual David Parkin Oration is an annual address that honours the significant contribution of Dr David Parkin OAM in leadership, sport and education, while exploring the potential for sport to act as a driver of social change.

Past orators include Andrew Demetriou, AFLW player Emma Kearney and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett AC.

2024 David Parkin Oration: From Good to Great – The Rise of the Richmond Football Club

When: Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 6-7pm. Doors open 5.30pm.

Where: The Edge, Federation Square, Corner Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne Vic 3000.

/University Public Release. View in full here.