About Water Polo AUS


Thomas Whalan – President


Thomas Whalan

Thomas has served on the board of Water Polo Australia since 2012 and the Athletes Commission since its inception in 2004 where he was appointed Chairman from 2012-2016.

Thomas has captained the Aussie Sharks and represented Australia in over 330 games including 4 Olympic Games (2000 – 2012) and 5 World Championships and has played professionally in the Italian and Spanish Leagues as well as a long-term player with the Sydney University Lions.

Thomas has a combined degree in Commerce and Laws at the University of Sydney and has worked at Clayton Utz Lawyers, UBS Private Wealth and is General Manager of Rent a Space Self Storage – a business which develops and manages self storage facilities comprising a property portfolio of 14 stores. 

Thomas founded the successful Water Polo by the Sea in 2011 with the vision to promote the sport of water polo across Australia and internationally. Since then, the events have continued to grow in exposure with circulation via television and media coverage in the millions and the 2015 Sydney Harbour event won the ‘Best New Event’ at the Australian Event Awards. 

Daniel Bartels


Daniel Bartels

Joining the Water Polo Australia board in 2014, Daniel Bartels has been heavily involved in Water Polo for over 20 years. As a player, coach and referee, he has played at state age level, coached at age group representative level and continues today to be one of Australia’s FINA panel referees. Having refereed over 350 national league games and toured with numerous Australian international teams to the Universiade and Youth World Championships, Daniel is one of Australia’s leading referees.

Daniel holds a bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Master of Business Administration from Macquarie Graduate School of Management. He has held numerous sales, marketing & management roles with multi-nationals including Nikon, Hasbro and Salesforce. His career includes being owner and founder of a successful national start-up Aussie Whitegoods Rescue, which he later sold to a publicly listed company. Prior to joining the WPA board, he was a member of the board of Water Polo NSW.

Trent Birkett

Trent Birkett

Trent Birkett

Trent was elected as a Director of Water Polo Australia on 25 November 2017.  He has been involved in water polo for over 30 years as a player, manager, coach and Director on the Water Polo ACT Board.  Trent played over 300 national league games and represented Australia at the junior, university and senior levels.

In his professional role as Chief Operating Officer, Trent manages teams responsible for the development and strategic management of finances, human resources, ICT and facilities.  He brings experience in the commercialisation of a government funded entities and has worked closely with the governing Board ensuring appropriate governance practices are in place.

Trent holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems) and Bachelor of Economics from the Australia National University.  He is also a Chartered Accountant and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Steve Blunt

Steve Blunt

Steve Blunt

Based in Melbourne, Steve Blunt is a businessman with more than 30 years of global experience in both the information technology and communications sectors. He has lived and worked on four continents of the world.

Steve has worked in a variety of executive leadership roles, generally leading teams, working with customers and partners in the corporate and government market sectors. He also has considerable experience leading large scale global change programs where he developed his passion for clear     communication, fact based decision making and strong governance.          

He was the foundation President of the Victorian National Water Polo League Club inc from 2013 to 2016 and served as a director of Water Polo Victoria from 2011 to 2016. In these roles he was instrumental in establishing partnerships in the areas of mental health advocacy and diversity and inclusion in sport.

Steve is a member of the Australia Institute of Company Directors. He was elected as a board director of Water Polo Australia on 26 November 2016.

Andrew Knox 

Andrew Knox

Andrew Knox

Andrew was appointed to the Water Polo Australia board in January 2018.

Andrew has been a partner in national law firm Allens for over 30 years, practicing as a corporate advisory lawyer for the whole of his 36 year legal career in that firm’s Brisbane and Port Moresby offices, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and corporate governance. In addition, Andrew has served on the boards of a number of not for profit entities in the fields of education and superannuation for almost 20 years in total, including more than 15 years when he chaired the governing bodies of some of these entities. He also has experience serving on finance and audit & risk committees.

Andrew has degrees in Economics and Law from the Australian National University and a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Director’s Course and has been a Fellow of that Institute since 2007. He was appointed as a member of the Australian Takeovers Panel for a term in 2003 and has been a member of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Queensland Regional Liaison Committee for over 20 years. He is a member of both the Queensland Law Society and the Law Council of Australia and has served on the Companies Committee and Corporations Committee of those bodies respectively for more than two decades.

Andrew has never played water polo. However 4 of his children have, with two playing at National League and Australian age representative levels, and daughter Bronwen going on to play 336 games for the Stingers, representing Australia at the Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games while Andrew absorbed the finer intricacies of the rules of the sport from the comfort of grandstands here and overseas.


Jane Moran – Athletes Commission Chair


Jane Moran

Jane is a retired elite level water polo athlete with a career highlight of a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Jane has since retired from international sport but is contributing to the sport outside of the pool. Jane was an Appointed Director of Water Polo Queensland from 2013 – 2015, Appointed Director of Water Polo Australia in 2016 and has just been elected as the Athlete’s Commission chairperson of Water Polo Australia on November 8, 2016, of which she was secretary for the 2012-2016 Olympiad.

Jane is a Senior Civil Engineer and Project Manager at Aurecon, a multi-national design consultancy. She has worked for Aurecon (previously Connell Wagner) for 12 years, balancing sport and career. In 2014 Jane transferred from Brisbane to Sydney, and is managing some of the city shaping major infrastructure projects funded through both the State and Federal Government


Phil Scales

Phil Scales

Phil Scales

Phil has worked in the Western Australian Public sector for 35+ years including over 30 years in management and executive management positions.Over 35 years in the Corporate Services area with over 25 years in IT, Phil has also worked in the regulatory compliance and dispute resolution areas.

He holds a Diploma in Computing, Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Post Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management.

With an involvement in Water Polo spanning over 40 years, his experience include:

  • State junior and senior representative for Western Australia;
  • Member Australian Referees panel;
  • Past Dolphins Water Polo Committee Member;
  • Past President Dolphins Water Polo;
  • A grade coach and Flippa Ball co-ordinator at club level;
  • Water Polo WA Board Member 15 years;
  • Past Chairman Water Polo WA;
  • Past Chairman Water Polo Australia Referee’s Commission;
  • Director Water Polo Australia;
  • Member Water Polo Australia Referee’s Commission;
  • Life Member Dolphins Water Polo Club; and
  • Life Member Water Polo WA;

Through involvement with water polo has also undertaken the following activities:

  • Steering Committee Member VII FINA World Swimming Championships 1998;
  • Steering Committee Member Commonwealth Water Polo Championships 2006;
  • Operations Manager XII FINA Masters World Championships 2008;
  • Steering Committee Member FINA World Youth Championships 2012;
  • Steering Committee Member BHP Biliton Super Series;

Susie Smith 

Susie Smith - Santos crop

Susie Smith

A board appointed director of Water Polo Australia on 8 January 2018.  Susie has over 20 years’ corporate experience and is the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network – a leading national policy think tank and advocate for sustainable energy  and climate change policy.

Susie’s corporate experience includes strategic planning, product development, government affairs and multi-stakeholder consultation, and corporate social responsibility reporting.

An experienced executive, she has held non-executive board positions with the Co-operative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Kyron Audio, South Australian Water Polo, and the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network.  Susie’s reputation in sport is highly regarded, representing Australia in both water polo and swimming, and is a long-serving member of the South Australian Cricket Association Game Development Committee.  Outside of the sports arena her professional career has seen her reach the top in not-for-profit organisations where she has played a vital role in strategic planning and government relations.

Susie was a dual Australian representative in the pool – water polo (1989-1990) and swimming (1991-1993).  She was a member of Australian Institute of Sport swimming team (1991-1993) and a multiple South Australian and Australian Capital Territory water polo team representative (1987-94 and 2005-07) and junior state team coach (1994-95 and 2006).

Susie is passionate about water polo, believing that it is a great sport that has positive fitness and community benefits that can be enjoyed by all, both at elite and social levels.