Fantasia quits Bulldogs for Hawks role

James Fantasia has become Hawthorn’s general manager of football. Photo: Vince CaligiuriWestern Bulldogs general manager of football James Fantasia has resigned and taken up the same position at Hawthorn.

Fantasia replaces Mark Evans, who recently left for a role as football operations manager with the AFL.

Fantasia headed the Bulldogs’ football department for six years after a stint as recruiter for Adelaide between 1995 and 2007.

He previously held roles with Norwood Football Club in the South Australian National Football League, and as general manager of game development with the SANFL.

Hawthorn chief executive Stuart Fox said his club was thrilled to welcome Fantasia to the Hawks, saying his ”wealth of experience and industry knowledge will be of great benefit” to the club.

”We have been impressed with James’ leadership style and we’re confident he will fit into the high-performance culture at Hawthorn well,” Fox said.

”James is a quality operator, an outstanding character and is highly respected within the football industry, and we look forward to having him join our team.”

Bulldogs chief executive Simon Garlick paid tribute to Fantasia’s work in transforming its football department.

”James has played a significant role in the evolution of the Western Bulldogs Football Club, both in his role as general manager of football and as a valued part of the club’s executive management team,” Garlick said on Thursday.

He admitted to SEN radio that there was a “tinge of regret” in the departure, but his club was realistic about the AFL, where such movement between clubs was common.

He said the Bulldogs were now in the “enviable” position of having a “real depth of experience in their football department.”

“We’ve got really good coverage there,” Garlick said.

He said Fantasia’s contribution to the club would be an enduring one.

”Perhaps the greatest contribution James has made to the club is best reflected by the strength of the football department he has been integral in building and the calibre of people that have been brought into footy on his watch,” Garlick said.

He would not be drawn on speculation that former Geelong player and NFL punter Ben Graham would be a leading candidate to fill the vacancy.

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