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. 

Phil Garling

Phil Garling

Phil was re-elected President Of Water Polo Australia on Monday December 5, 2016

Phil has 35 years experience in Construction, Development and Investment management, most recently as Global Head of Infrastructure at AMP Capital. He was also a long term senior executive at Lend Lease Corporation culminating in the role as CEO of Lend Lease Capital Services. Phil was a long term director of Melbourne Airport and foundation chair of the DUET Group (ASX:DUE). He has a Bachelor of Building from UNSW and the Advanced Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He is a Fellow of each of the AICD, the Australia Institute of Building and the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Phil’s other current non executive directorships are: Australian Renewable Fuels (ASX:ARW) (Chair), Downer EDI (ASX:DOW), Charter Hall (ASX:CHC), Networks NSW and Tellus Holdings (Chair). He is also an advisor to the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation.

Phil played over 600 games of grade water polo for the Cronulla & Wizards Clubs in every grade from 6th to 1st (and back again), and won 17 summer premierships. He was selected for Australian Universities from 1972-1976. He has held numerous administrative and coaching positions in the sport.

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.

Steve BluntSteve 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.

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

Kathy Ostin – Finance, Risk & Audit Committee Chair


Kathy Ostin

Kathy was appointed as a board appointed director of Water Polo Australia on 22 November 2014.  She is also Chair of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee of Water Polo Australia.

Kathy has over 20 years’ experience as a chartered accountant and is a partner at KPMG.  She works in audit and advisory, focusing on the Health, Ageing and Human Services sector, and leads KPMG’s Aged and Community Care Group, and Not-for-Profit Group.

She has worked with many for-profit and not-for-profit clients in the aged care, health, human services, retirement living, community care, social services and welfare sectors in the areas of external audit, CFO advisory, internal audit, governance risk, and strategy development.

Kathy is experienced in advising clients on the impacts of the aged care, community care, disability, and not-for-profit reforms on their business model and assisting clients prepare for the new direction in these sectors, strategically, operationally and financially.  She is also experienced in advising for-profit and not-for-profit Boards and Audit and Risk Committees in the areas of risk, strategy, financial management and governance.

Kathy has also worked with many clients in media and entertainment, advertising, software distribution, investment banking, and financial services.

Kathy is an Independent Director on the National Board of StreetWork Australia and is Chair of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee.   She is also an independent member of White Ribbon Australia’s Audit & Risk Committee.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) degree from the University of New South Wales, holds a Certificate of Public Practice, is a Registered Company Auditor, a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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;

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.