Armstrong Launches Talent Academy In Esperance

SUBIACO Football Club Colts Coach Steven Armstrong and Player Development Officer Jeff Lind have launched the club’s new talent academy in Esperance.

The launch was at the Newton Football Oval Clubrooms on Tuesday 22nd May with local football identity Tony Power to coordinate the program under the guidance of the club.

The program aims to identify talented players aged upwards of 14 and provide them with the opportunity to develop their football skills, knowledge and education in an environment that focuses on individual player development.

It is centered on the development of the person and their ability to contribute in a team environment.

The club had acknowledged that country players are disadvantaged by the lack of specialized training and preparation when competing in metropolitan based carnivals, often which determine selection in junior State teams.

This academy will replicate the metropolitan talent programs that SFC delivers.

These programs provide knowledge and training based upon the expertise of SFC, which fosters the football development of talented junior players from 14 years upwards.

It is every players’ dream to be drafted to the AFL but it is important the players understand the pathway thought the WAFL system and the enormous amount of work they have to do first.

The talent academy aims to fast track that development and provide greater opportunities for Esperance boys.


SFC Talent Academy - Philosophies         

  • To select the most talented developing players available, i.e. players who demonstrate the most distinct attributes to progress into WAFL senior football and AFL football;
  • Adopt a holistic approach to player development - physical, emotional, social and mental;
  • Emphasise individual player development within a team context;
  • To engage a local co-ordinator who will work in partnership SFC staff to develop individual players.


The Esperance Academy will operate year round:

November to April          

  • Focus is on training 16 year olds according to a pre-determined curriculum covering physical preparation, skill development, nutrition & recovery, personal development, athlete & career education, and AFL policies.  At the end of the program these players will participate in the WAFL 16s carnival in April.

November to December               

  • Providing a structured preseason training environment for 17 and 18 year olds who are preparing to join Subiaco’s Colts pre-season training in the new year.

May – October

  • Focus is on training 14 and 15 year olds according to a pre-determined curriculum and at the end of the program these players will participate in the WAFL 14s and 15s carnival in October.


The role of the local coordinator Tony Power will be to oversee the program for identified players.  This will involve conducting training sessions in addition to their club commitments.

Armstrong understands that it is important that when these players do come to Perth to play in either the development squads or Colts that they are prepared in the best possible way to ensure they make a good impression.

Steve himself is a product of the Perth Football Club’s development program and he was also selected in State 16s and 18s teams.  He made his WAFL debut aged 16 in 2000 and he was drafted to the AFL by Melbourne FC at the end of the 2001 season.

He made his AFL debut with Melbourne in 2002 and was later drafted by West Coast Eagles in 2006.  He played 78 AFL games, including being a member of West Coast Eagles’ premiership team in 2006.  Added to Steve’s 90 WAFL games with Perth FC he played 43 games with Sandringham, Melbourne’s aligned club in the VFL, and he also represented WA in 2006.  Steve has accumulated a total of 212 senior games.

Prior to the launch of the program Armstrong took 40 boys aged 14 and 15, nominated from the four Esperance Clubs, for a training session at 4.30pm at Newtown Football Oval.  After the launch Steve then took Newtown-Condingup Senior Team for a training session.

Subiaco’s Player Development Officer Jeff Lind sees this as an opportunity for country boys to be put on equal footing with their metropolitan counterparts. 

“The programs will concentrate on individual development with regular feedback on their improvement,” he said/

Since taking over the Esperance District in 2004, Subiaco has seen Esperance products Rhett Kerr, Julian Jacobs, Abe Davey, Clancy Wheeler progress through to WAFL league ranks. 

Lind said: “With the introduction of this program we aim to see that number grow very quickly over the next few years and hopefully soon a Esperance player will graduate through Subiaco to AFL ranks.”

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