The future of Group Seven Rugby League is in safe hands after the competition announced NRL legend Ashton Sims will be its next operations manager.
The Gerringong Lions junior, who went on to play 368 first grade games across 17 seasons, was announced on Tuesday as the replacement for Debbie Rowley - who handed in her resignation last month.
Group Seven president Scott McLaurin admits he's excited to appoint Sims, 36, in the position, after an extensive interview process over the past few weeks.
"Ashton, a South Coast junior who has excelled at all levels of the game and now resides back in the area, is super excited about the opportunity and the junior and senior Group Seven boards believe his profile and enthusiasm will be a fantastic asset to our competition," McLaurin said.
"He offers another diverse skill set and big presence to our organisation, which we have no doubt will help us grow it for years to come.
"Ashton's professionalism has been on display through his work with the Mental Health Movement and he has certainly impressed so many clubs who participated in these activities.
"His past roles have allowed him to develop an outstanding rapport with both the media and general public and the board feels assured this will only further increase our exposure and maximise sponsorship capabilities."
McLaurin is also confident Sims, who already has a certificate four in business management, can continue on the strong work Rowley has done over the past 18 months.
"Debbie has been amazing at helping grow our competition's exposure and we look forward to Ashton being able to continue this," McLaurin said.
"Our competitions involve so many clubs and volunteers that make it all work.
"It is with confidence that with Ashton on board, we consider the future looks great for rugby league on the South Coast."