The West

Western Australia's Talent Academy is set to overhaul its coaching structure after last night's meeting of key football stakeholders recommended a return to the successful regimes of the past.

Officials from West Coast, Fremantle, the AFL, WAFL and WAFC met to discuss concerns about the State's development pathway, which has fallen behind other States after previously being the nation's benchmark.

There are fears that the 2012 national draft will be one of WA's leanest in recent years, despite beginning the season with high hopes.

The reputations of several highly-rated players have plummeted and while they are still expected to be drafted, there are questions over their ability to succeed in the AFL.

AFL club recruiters point to budget and staffing cuts as the key reasons behind the problem.

Recommendations have been made to remove the maximum two-year coaching term for the State under-18 and under-16 teams, so the people in charge aren't always learning on the job.

There should also be a greater focus on appointing proven coaches instead of using the under-age teams as development opportunities.

And the WAFC was urged to appoint a Coach of Coaches in a similar role to the one filled by Rob Wiley for four years. Wiley worked full-time at the WAFC to help the under-age teams from 2007-2010 and the State enjoyed enormous drafting success.

That job is likely to only be part-time, but will be held by someone with significant experience.

The West Australian

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