PNG 'Bucket list' goal ticked off

ANOTHER “bucket list” goal was ticked off during the week.

I was lucky enough to be invited by AFLPNG to coach an invitational team against the PNG Mosquitoes.

I flew out last Wednesday to coach a team containing Austin Jones, Sam Carins and rugby league legend Mat Rogers.

What a privilege to be asked to help develop the game in a new frontier. I experienced the war cemetery and the sites and scenes of Port Moresby.

However, the greatest thrill I got was providing some advice and assistance to the AFLPNG school academy. For the past 15 years I have been involved in the Palm Beach Currumbin SHS AFL sport excellence program.

I have seen it grow from being a one-teacher and 20-student program to its current status of having four teacher/coaches assist over 90 students in their quest to realise their football dreams. I have seen how this program not only creates good footballers – Sam Gilbert, Dayne Beams, Marc Lock and Joel Wilkinson – but also good citizens.

The transfer of our knowledge, program organisation and systems was very rewarding.

I look forward to the day when the first PNG academy student graduates to the AFL.



LAST week I outlined the first building block of creating a sustainable, successful club – a committee that has a clear vision with strong financial planning.

The second building block is establishing your team’s culture.

At this stage, game plans, tactics and training equipment are irrelevant. As senior coach it is your responsibility to have a clear management and coaching philosophy. You must have a strong understanding of what your core values and personal trademarks are.

To help you understand this point, I will outline some of the trademarks I base my planning and coaching around: walk the walk – achievement through action not words; clear and honest communication – the one excuse players or staff can’t have is they didn’t know; excellence is won through building habits – do the common things uncommonly well; hard work and preparation cannot be compromised; see something, do something.

In practical terms, this meant developing a player handbook “The Blues Print for Success’ where the goals, structure, role descriptions and KPI’s were outlined. Importantly, you must develop not only your personal “culture”, but that of the team.

This is the key ingredient.

You must establish an agreed, player-led set of trademarks and key behaviours.

I have found that this process works best when you bring in an outside consultant. I use a company run by former Collingwood and Carlton player Trent Hotton.

The process is simple, clear and guides everything from who is elected on to the leadership group to team selections and just general accepted behaviours.

In a nutshell, the process involves players working in groups.

Initially they brainstorm how they think the club/team is seen from people outside the club.

Next they list how they want to be seen. The feedback all gets narrowed down until the team members agree on their trademarks. This becomes your cultural framework.

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