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BFNL Board Members

Prof Carol McKinstry, PhD, SFHEA, GAICD

Professor Carol McKinstry is the current BFNL Board Chair, and Professor of Occupational Therapy in the Rural Health School of La Trobe University at the Bendigo Campus. She is currently Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, and Deputy Dean of the Rural Health School. She has been on the BFNL Board since 2010.

Professor McKinstry has extensive experience in educating health students, and oversees nursing, allied health, dental and biomedical rural courses.  Her research is focused on rural health workforce development.

Professor McKinstry is also a Board Director of Occupational Therapy Australia, Trustee of the Occupational Therapy Australia Research Foundation and Chair of the Bendigo Football Netball League. She was previously on the Board of Rochester and Elmore District Health Services and was recently appointed a Life Governor. She is a graduate with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also a Life Member of the Bendigo Volleyball Association.

Sam McGee

Sam was a Family Lawyer for 17 years, and a Partner/Director at O'Farrell Robertson McMahon Lawyers.

In August 2021, Sam retired as a Director & Family Lawyer at OFRM to take up an exciting new role as a Judicial Registrar with the new Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia. This move was terrific recognition of Sam’s expertise and skills as a Family Lawyer.

He has a long association with Country football/netball with his family being passionate supporters of Casterton FNC in the Western Border League where his father was a club trainer for many years.

Sam has been a member of the Sandhurst Football Netball Club Committee.  He played football for Monash Blues in the Victorian Amateurs, Portland, Hamilton Imperial in the Western Border League and Sandhurst FNC.  He was the captain of Sandhurst FNC in 2009 and 2010 and was a match day coach in 2014.

Cheryl Elvey

Born and raised in Eaglehawk, Cheryl has strong ties with the BFNL from a young age with her father, 3 brothers and uncle all being involved with the Eaglehawk FNC, holding various positions including coaching and administrative roles.

So much so that in 1995 Cheryl’s father, Mac Elvey, was acknowledged for his service and dedication to the BFNL by being awarded Life Membership of the League.

As a qualified Accountant, Cheryl will step into the vacant position boasting over 30 years-experience in the media industry along with a solid financial background which will be a significant asset to the League. An extensive professional career includes holding several notable roles such as; Financial controller and Business Manager for Southern Cross Broadcasting, Group Financial Operations/Commercial Manager including managing the News Bureaus in LA and London for the Seven Network Australia, General Manager Financial Operations/Financial Controller for the Nine Network Australia and most recently as Director/Finance Manager and Secretary of a local mining business in Central Victoria.

Cheryl also holds an equally impressive sporting resume including representing Bendigo in Volleyball for several years, being named the inaugural Administrator of the Bendigo Volleyball Association and is a Life Member of the BVA. She was the founding Boys Squad coach of the Bendigo Academy of Sport and followed on by becoming Head Coach of the program. Between 1995-1999, Cheryl was a panel member of the Bendigo Sport Star committee whilst working at Southern Cross Broadcasting and was also a representative of the Victorian Women’s Soccer Team from 1977-1985.

Cheryl will bring a wealth of experience and valuable financial skillset to the role.

Ellyse McNish

Ellyse Roper filled a vacant Board position during late 2021, before officially becoming a BFNL Board member at the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

Ellyse is passionate about sports, from local to global stages. She was a key player in the first Nitro Athletics competition, adding a fresh take to the sport. She worked closely with top athletes like Usain Bolt for a three-night event. After that, she led the live stream for the 2017 Little Athletics Australian Championships and the 2017 and 2018 Athletics Australia Galas, announcing the Olympic Team. She's also deeply involved in community sports, working with clubs like Deception Bay Little Athletics, Southern Cross Swimming, Inglewood Football Netball, and Bendigo Harriers.

Ellyse also has a passion for health and higher education, particularly allowing students to access it in a way that’s convenient and equitable. Ellyse has a marketing and sports background, however, has spent the past four years in higher education working across La Trobe University’s Rural Health School. She has also been an integral part of running Victoria's first end-to-end rural medical program.

In 2022 Ellyse completed the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP) which she has found richly rewarding in learning more about herself as a community leader and how she can support others.

Having lived in Bendigo for 11 years Ellyse believes there is a big opportunity within regional communities to make a real difference in people's lives and become a driver of positive change.  

Her personal commitment is to continue to advocate wherever possible about the opportunities for health and development in regional Victoria. 

LinkedIn profile: 

Andy Walker

Andy Walker recently retired from his long-standing position as Property Lead within the Building and Property Services at the City of Greater Bendigo.

Andy remains a key link and knowledgable direct resource for local clubs in facilitating and activating positive outcomes for community level sporting facilities. 

He has lived in Bendigo for 27 years and played most of his senior football with Kyneton FNC.

Andy has been involved in both football and cricket either as a player, coach or administrator. Andy is passionate about working and supporting committees and the community to enable them to be sustainable and continue to grow stronger. 

Andy remains committed to developing postitive club relationships which support building capacity and capability within clubs striving for sustainable and successful futures.

Craig Findlay (Casual Vacancy)

Craig Findlay was born and raised in Kennington, playing his junior football with Kennington-Strathdale Saints but in 1983 joined the Bendigo Umpires Association.  

A veteran of 571 matches which includes 441 senior matches and 5 BFNL senior grand finals as a field umpire.  A BUA Life Member in 1998, BUA Coach 1996 to 2000, BUA Chairman 2016 to 2021 and BUA Chairman of Selectors from 2012 to 2021.
Professionally Craig has worked with Victoria Police and V/Line, a father of 3 grown up children, recently retired and enjoying time travelling Australia.  A keen golfer, lawn bowler and strong family connections throughout Bendigo in football, netball and athletics.

Joining the BFNL Board he has a real passion for local football, with a knowledge and understanding of umpiring requirements and how this can best work for the BFNL. 

Craig understands that we need to keep football and umpiring numbers strong throughout Central Victoria to ensure the best competition.

Todd Deary (Casual Vacancy)

Todd Deary is a 25 year veteran of the Victoria Police, currently serving in the Bendigo Highway patrol. Todd was born and raised in Golden Square, he began his life long association with the Golden Square FNC in the U12’s in 1975.

Since retiring as a player, Todd has worked with various sporting committees in football and cricket. Todd has coached or assisted with many junior teams, in recent years coaching the U18 girls and senior women at Golden Square.

Todd has recently joined the BFNL Board as a casual member, with a focus on club sustainability, growth and inclusion, he is passionate about the health of the BFNL and the associated benefits provided for the community as a whole.

Away from football and netball, Todd and his family like to holiday in Noosa.