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CEO Stephenson resigns from Tweed to take up QRL post

The Tweed Seagulls are on the lookout for a new chief executive officer after the resignation of Paul Stephenson to take up a newly created position with the Queensland Rugby League.

Stephenson, 36, leaves the Seagulls in good health after the club’s most successful season in 2019 and with its women’s team, new last season, about to enter the inaugural QRL statewide premiership.

Off the field, work is about to begin on development of facilities at the club’s home ground, Piggabeen Sports Complex.

The Gulls, under coach Ben Woolf who is going into his third season in the role, last season made Intrust Super Cup finals for the first time since 2014, while their Hastings Deering Colts also played in the finals.

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The Under 18 took all before them, winning the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup and national championships.

“Paul has done an outstanding job during an exciting development stage for the club in 2018-19 and his successor will have an outstanding opportunity to take the Seagulls forward,” club chairman Ian Paton said.

“We thank Paul for his hard work that has contributed largely towards results on and off the field in a competition where we compete against clubs with far greater resources in most cases.

“We wish him well in this new opportunity at the QRL.”

Stephenson, who played 55 NRL games for Manly and Cronulla and also in the Queensland’s statewide competition, will take up his position with the QRL as state manager of match officials on March 23.

It is a strategic role with the objective of increasing participation of match officials throughout the state and improving the capabilities of current officials.

Stephenson first joined the Tweed Seagulls as sponsorship, operations and player wellbeing manager in 2017 before taking over the CEO’s job last April after Matthew Jobson’s brief period in the position. Previously former Gold Coast Titans head of football Scott Clark held the role.

Stephenson had previously had extensive corporate experience as a business development executive at Coca Cola Amatil and as a business development manager with Konnect Building.

However, his heart is in rugby league and he is excited about the new challenge with the state body, based out of Brisbane.

“I’m really sad to be leaving after the momentum we have gathered on and off the field, particularly in the past 12 months, but roles like this with an organisation like the QRL don’t come up very often,” Stephenson said.

“I leave knowing the club is in a really strong position and well placed to secure more excellent growth in the immediate future.

“The fact we’ve worked really hard to get quality staff in place will see the club prosper in the short and medium term and it has been great to witness a new level of confidence and pride in the Seagulls during my period here.

“I’d like to pass on a big thank to the board for their faith in giving me an opportunity when they did, to the hard-working staff, coaches and their support staff through all our teams and obviously the players who have been a pleasure to deal with.

“I look forward to seeing the Gullies have further success in the coming years.”

Paton said that while the club was naturally disappointed to see Stephenson leave, it created an opportunity for a new CEO to add his or her stamp on the club that can look forward to the future with confidence.

It has a stable sponsorship base, led by Intrust Super Cup team sponsor Ben Campbell Building Group and the women’s team sponsor Gold Coast Airport, has further plans to develop Piggabeen and has some of the region’s best young players in its ranks.

The club will soon advertise the position extensively online and expects to attract several worthy applications.