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WARRIORS DEVELOPMENT SQUADS REVIEW 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the various development squads in 2015 and it is always exciting to see the young talent coming through the District and testing themselves against the best players from around the State. The Warriors program as a whole aims to create a fun, positive environment where these young athletes are continually challenged to improve and reach their potential.

We demand the highest standards from all players, coaches and support staff within the program and I am extremely confident there will be some highly talented footballers playing senior football for South Fremantle out of these programs in the near future.

16’s DEVELOPMENT SQUAD

Head Coach: Jason Matthews
Assistant Coaches: Simon Maxwell, Glenn Kirkwood, Steve Jones
Team Manager: Leon Flanagan
Medical: Trish Cabassi

Jason Matthews was once again head coach of the 16’s for his second year and along with his support staff put together an extremely professional program where players gained not only knowledge of the game but of also the demands and expectations of them as players off the field. 

The boys played 6 games in the Carnival and played some brilliant football in patches but lacked the consistency to put together 4 quarters of football together in any one game. They finished with 3 wins and 3 losses but most importantly learnt some football lessons in regards to mental toughness and preparing properly to play games that will improve them as footballers as they move into the Colts program in 2016.

JIM HURST MEDAL

At the conclusion of the 16’s Carnival the Jim Hurst Medal is awarded to the best player over the six games. Alex Cabassi won the 2015 Jim Hurst Medal with 48 votes ahead of runner-up Cody Ditchburn on 27 votes. Alex had a terrific carnival as a rebounding defender/midfielder and was a very deserving winner.

STATE 16’s

Alex Cabassi, Kyle Donaldson, Shai Bolton, Nathan Scott and Brodee Knight were selected in the initial State 16’s Squad with Alex Cabassi and Kyle Donaldson making the final squad and competing in the NAB 16’s Carnival on the Gold Coast. Both players acquitted themselves very well in the Carnival and should be very proud of their efforts.

16’s MELBOURNE TOUR

As is tradition, the 16’s again toured Melbourne as the final component of their development program. The tour is considered a vital part of the development of these players and a once in a lifetime opportunity to play and watch football in Melbourne.

The tour party consisted of Player Development Manager Jason Pedulla, Head Coach Jason Matthews, Assistant Coaches Simon Maxwell, Glenn Kirkwood and Steve Jones, Team Manager Leon Flanagan, Physiotherapist Dean Reynolds and 27 players.

The boys flew over on Wednesday 8th July and played two games of football. One against the Calder Cannons on Thursday 9th July and the second against St Kevin’s College on Friday 10th July. The boys were fantastic against a strong Calder Cannons outfit on the Thursday and with their slick ball movement and run and carry had a two-point lead heading into the last quarter. The conditions however took a turn for the worse and the Cannons kicked with a strong breeze in the last quarter kicking 3 goals 5 behinds run out eventual winners by 21 points. It was a very tough, physical game which took its toll on the players. Goal kickers were Litherland (2), Knight (1), Rodin-Zimdahl (1) and Pen-Dennis Watson (1)

After a rehab session at the Melbourne Bath’s the players and staff headed out for dinner where they were greeted by South Fremantle legend Scott Watters who gave a very inspirational and eye opening speech to all the players and staff. His passion for the Club and everyone who has ever worn the red V was clearly on display.

The next day the boys woke up sick, sore and sorry however they had a game to play v St Kevin’s College. They were competitive in the first half trailing by 2 goals at half time however they couldn’t keep up with a team with superior skills by foot and ending up losing by 8 goals. Goal Kickers were Faulkner (1), Sivewright (1), Moore (1), Pen-Dennis Watson (1) and Kickett (1).

On Sunday night, former South Fremantle players Jermaine Miller-Lewis (Hawthorn) and Ben Newton (Melbourne) were invited to attend dinner for the official presentation of awards. Jason Cross & Lachlan Lindsell were awarded footballs as the two best players across the games, both playing excellent roles in defence. Callan Pen-Dennis Watson was awarded best goal for a freakish snap against Calder Cannons and Lachlan Lindsell also won the award for best tackle/hip & shoulder again against the Calder Cannons.

The group itinerary was excellent, and the boys were lucky enough to watch 2 games while over there. They watched Richmond v Carlton at the MCG on the Friday night and North Melbourne v Geelong at Etihad on Saturday night. They were also given a fantastic tour of the MCG and the National Sport Museum.

We were also fortunate enough to tour the facilities of three AFL Clubs whilst in Melbourne. Dominic Milesi the National Recruiting Assistant at Collingwood took the boys through the Magpies facilities and also gave a fantastic presentation to the boys outlining what AFL recruiters are looking for in players.

Angus Litherland provided a tour of Hawthorn and spoke to the boys about his transition from playing football in WA to now being involved at the most successful Club in the AFL. His access to the inner-sanctum and advice was greatly enjoyed by all players in attendance.

On the last day of the tour the boys also were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to train inside Essendon’s indoor training facility – The Hangar. Whilst by this time all players were tired and ready to get home, the excitement of this opportunity wasn’t lost on them and the training session was sharp and full of voice. It no doubt had something to do with the man who took the session – Merv Keane who was a Richmond Premiership player and an assistant coach at Essendon under Kevin Sheedy whilst also coaching Sturt in the SANFL and the Western Jets and Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup. At the conclusion of the session Recruiting Analyst Mark Micallef presented to the boys on how AFL clubs judge talent and asked them to evaluate themselves against the scale used by recruiters. It was another fantastic insight for the players and again surely opened a few eyes.

In summary it was a fantastic trip with the boys thoroughly enjoying themselves and creating lifelong friends and memories.

UPPER GREAT SOUTHERN RAMS

I would like to congratulate Garry Gillespie on his first year as Head Coach of the UGS Rams. It was fantastic to bring our combined 15’s out to play the boys in Boddington in preparation for your Carnival and the way the boys played and responded to your coaching was clearly on display. To Helen Shalders and all others involved in the Upper Great Southern Football League I thank you for your time and dedication to ensure a strong league. The quality of players not only on the field, but the character of the boys off the field is a credit to their country upbringing.

14’s & 15’s DEVELOPMENT SQUADS

The 14’s & 15’s played their traditional carnival in the October school holidays and as a whole they put together some very strong performances with some exciting footballers about to make their way into Colts and Senior football in the not too distant future.

A huge thank you to the following coaches and support staff who gave up their time to help develop these players and provide a strong foundation for years to come.

14’s Early

Head Coach – Steve Pendleton
Asst. Coach – Ryan Henley

Asst. Coach – Richard Leidtke

Team Manager – Steve & Sharyn Goodall

Medical – Rebecca Boni

14’s Late

Head Coach – Paul Litherland
Asst. Coach – Beau McCormack

Asst. Coach – Mick Cabassi

Team Manager – Aneta Ward

Medical – Rebecca Boni

15’s Early

Head Coach – Glenn Kirkwood
Asst. Coach – Steve Jones

Asst. Coach – Jason Corner

Asst. Coach – Jye Depane

Team Manager – Phil Green

Medical – Sam Cassells

15’s Late

Head Coach – Tony Brewer
Asst. Coach – Lachie Harris

Asst. Coach – Greg Munt

Asst. Coach – Jason Ellis

Team Manager – Fiona Grant

Medical – Sam Cassells


At the conclusion of the carnival we held our Fairest & Best medal count with the medals named after three great club stalwarts and volunteers to the Warriors Program over many years. Congratulations to the players who won the following medals:

Terry Dean Medal (Best Player 14’s Early) – Benjamin Pears
Peter O’Neill Medal (Best Player 14’s Late) – Jared Crozier

Tony Mollica Medal (Best Player 15’s Early) – Regan Spooner
Tony Mollica Medal (Best Player 15’s Late) – Kyle Hamersley

FINAL THANK YOUS

I strongly believe that the one thing that separates the South Fremantle Development Program from others in the WAFL is the quality of the people involved. To all the coaches, support staff and volunteers who assisted throughout the year I once again extend my heartfelt thanks to you individually and as a collective. It simply would not have been possible to run the program as successfully as we did without your assistance.

To Stuart Kemp, Peter Christie and the rest of the board I thank you for your guidance and support throughout my first year at the Club and for making me feel welcome as a Bulldog. To the other staff in Jessica, Michelle, Darren and Steve I also extend my thanks for your varied assistance throughout the year from typing letters through to organising major functions and events. The professionalism you display on a daily basis is a credit to yourselves and it reflects strongly on the culture at the South Fremantle Football Club.

To the District staff in Bradd, Lachlan and Robyn I thank you for your tireless efforts working in the district and providing a strong competition for our development programs to draw our players from.  

I would like to reserve my final thank you to David Depane who has had the biggest influence on me personally during my short time at the Club. Your patience, understanding and knowledge of the Warriors program has been invaluable and your support and guidance in working through difficult situations throughout the year is greatly appreciated. I think we work well as a team and I look forward to building on what we have achieved this year and driving success at the Club in the future.   

In conclusion, we constantly challenge our players to seek improvement every day, and as manager of the talent programs I feel it is my duty to be relentless in constantly seeking improvement off the field. I am genuinely excited about 2016 and the direction we are heading as an overall talent program.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to more Bulldogs success in 2016!

Jason Pedulla
Player Development Manager