Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle today announced general manager football Dean Bell is leaving after eight years with the club.
Since returning home from England in 2007, Bell has worked in roles in recruitment, retention, team management and welfare.
“Dean has made a major contribution to the Vodafone Warriors,” said Doyle.
“During his time with the club we’ve seen significant improvements in the Vodafone Warriors’ football operations, most notably following the introduction of the National Youth Competition.
“We wish him all the best for the future and thank him for all he has done for the club, first as Warrior No 1 and then in our football department over the last seven years.”
Bell said: “I’m 53 next week and I have made the decision that the time is right to look at some new challenges outside football. We have a house north of Auckland and my wife and I are keen to move there.
“I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to make a living out of the game, first as a player for 14 years and then in many off-field roles for the last 20 years.
“I feel the time is right as we now have in place a strong NRL squad and some extremely exciting juniors coming through our system.”
Bell said while he was moving away from a near-lifetime involvement with rugby league his passion for the game would remain.
“Warriors teams have played a big part in my life through both the Wigan Warriors and the Vodafone Warriors,” he said.
“Leading the Auckland Warriors out for our first game in 1995 will live with me for the rest of my life. A huge highlight for me was having all three of our teams in their grand finals at ANZ Stadium in 2011. It was a real thrill to see so many young players from throughout New Zealand having the chance to play in a grand final.
“Another highlight is seeing the club run three teams which are giving our young players such a fantastic pathway towards making a living out of the game and also seeing the employment opportunities it is giving coaching and support staff.”
Bell said the improvement in the club’s training facilities was also highlight as was the effort by the club to welcome back ex-players Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Jerry Seuseu, Duane Mann and Jerome Ropati and to see their development in off-field roles.
“I would like to personally thank Eric Watson for his support and Wayne Scurrah for recruiting me back from the United Kingdom,” said Bell.
“I feel very privileged to have played a part in the Warriors’ history and I want to wish all the staff and players the very best of luck for the future.”
As a result of Bell’s departure today, Doyle said football operations manager Dan Floyd will head up development while Duane Mann will continue in his role as academy and pathways manager. Floyd will also oversee player retention.
“We’re reviewing our recruitment strategy and, in the meantime, I will work in this area with our NRL coaches (McFadden, Tony Iro and Andrew Webster),” he said.