We'll talk about the achievements of your sons shortly but you're out-and-about in Port Fairy. How many years has your family called Port Fairy home over the holiday break?
It's about 15 years. My parents have been in Port Fairy this year and that's made the festive season really great and so have our children. James has been here in between his work commitments.
I've found Port Fairy is a great spot to unwind from all the pressures of everyday life in Melbourne. The town offers a real laid-back atmosphere.
The East Beach is just sensational. It's a very safe beach. I think it's one of the best beaches I've seen and the golf course is amazing. We spent a lot of time out at the golf course. There's a fair bit of rivalry between us all on the golf course.
Port Fairy often has a real North Melbourne feel about it. I played at the Kangaroos and some of the old players like Donald McDonald, Mark Lisle and Brad Sholl can be spotted walking around the town.
Let's go back in time for a moment. Mark, your dad Ian was a very talented sportsman. Is that a fair comment?
Yes. Ian was very good. He was a very good footballer and cricketer. My parents encouraged their children to get involved in sport.
I've still got vivid memories of Ian playing cricket for South Perth and I would be there watching him with my other siblings. Ian had a great cricket career playing for Western Australia at Sheffield Shield level and he also played for Claremont when they won the footy premiership in 1964.
Mark, you mentioned that you played with North Melbourne. How many games did you play at the Kangaroos?
My career started at Claremont in the West Australian Football League in 1984.
I was drafted to North Melbourne in the 1989 draft. I was picked as a first-round selection at number six in the draft. I went on and played 32 games for the Kangaroos and booted two goals before I got delisted by the Kangaroos in 1992 and went back to Claremont.
The strange thing about the draft is I went as pick six in 1989 while Angus went as pick three in 2014 and Andrew went as two in 2017.
I suppose my career low-light was playing against Melbourne one day and Darren Bennett kicked a heap on me. After I went back to Claremont I got a job in marketing with Fremantle before going to work as the marketing manager at Port Adelaide. I then went and had a stint as the CEO at Richmond for a few years.
What road did your career go down after working as the CEO at Richmond?
I joined the board at the Kangaroos with my brother James in 2007. There was a big push to relocate the Kangaroos to the Gold Coast but we never wanted that to happen. There were a few of us on the board who were really staunch that the Kangaroos should stay in Melbourne. I'm glad we stood strong on that matter.
I was the CEO of the AFL Coaches Association in 2015 for six years. It was a very demanding job but I enjoyed it because I just love footy.
I'm now the CEO at Levin Health. We're an Australian sports science company focused on researching, developing and commercialising a range of medicinal cannabis products initially for the treatment of pain, mental health disorders and sport-related ailments.
Levin Health wears a few different hats and one of those is it has a sports advisory board which includes Alastair Clarkson, Damien Oliver, Damien Hardwick, Lauren Jackson and Andrew Johns.
Speaking of Alastair Clarkson, undoubtedly with your contacts at the Kangaroos you would have an insight into how things are going at the club in the lead-up to the 2023 season under him?
I must admit I was a bit surprised that Clarko took over the coaching job at the Kangaroos but I'm glad he did. I've heard very positive reports coming out of the club. I played footy with Clarko at the Roos. He had limited ability on the footy field but he has the ability to relate to people at all levels and that's something that is often missing at AFL level.
Clarko had a year away from the game. I'm sure the time away allowed him to charge up his batteries. He's a very positive sort of bloke and I reckon it's a great fit that he's coaching the Roos.
Let's talk about your sons for a few minutes. We'll start off with William. What's he do for work?
As I said previously Deborah and I are very proud of our four sons. William is in the army based in Western Australia. He spent eight months representing Australia over in Afghanistan. It was a huge effort.
Angus has a degree in commerce and played in a premiership with Melbourne. Hamish played with West Coast and works for them now and is heavily involved in their women's football program while Andrew plays for Fremantle. He's played 100 games for Fremantle and purchased a house over there. Andrew loves the fans at Fremantle and the club.
The funny thing is a few of my mates often question why the four kids are so talented and I have to admit my wife Deborah was a top netball player in Western Australia and that's where the sporting prowess comes from.
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