Gepp wants juniors to learn from stars
Tim Gepp with Hale product Ryan Lim, 16, a member of the AFL’s level-one academy. Picture: Steve Ferrier/WA News

Current AFL stars will become an integral part of the State's football development programs next season as part of new WAFC director of coaching Tim Gepp's plan to add more elite players and coaches to the Talent Academy.

Gepp was appointed to the role after spending 2012 working alongside former West Coast assistant coach Rob Wiley with the vic- torious State under-16 team.

Wiley attracted Fremantle's Aaron Sandilands and West Coast's Adam Selwood to the coaching team and Gepp will use his contacts to add more big names to the group.

"I've spoken to Fremantle and I've spoken to West Coast who are very enthusiastic about the idea of us getting some more of their senior players involved in our program," Gepp said.

"Aaron's going to be involved again, Adam Selwood is going to be involved again and I've spoken to a number of players at West Coast who are keen to be involved - and the same with Fremantle.

"The young players love learning from AFL players and it lifts the profile of what we're about.

"That's important because we're trying to attract kids and we can say if you get an opportunity to get involved with WA football's high-performance program, get in there."

The players who work with the academy can use the experience as part of their level-two coaching accreditation.

Gepp said recently drafted players would also provide insights, while he would also target stars from other sports.

Gepp's appointment followed a meeting earlier this month which questioned recent changes to the State's development program.

Several AFL clubs had questioned budget and staffing cuts after the lack of improvement from players in this year's under-18 team.

The Talent Academy will be restructured next season so the under-16s, under-18s, North West Academy and women's teams are all under the same banner.

Gepp had already been appointed as an assistant coach for the level-one AFL academy, so has been working closely with elite junior footballers.

He said coaches throughout the State would be encouraged to attend academy training so they could take extra skills and knowledge back to colts and community football.

"As much as this is a pathway for players, it's also a pathway for coaches. Anyone who is involved in coaching in WA should feel they can come down," he said.

"It's quite a daunting task for a young guy to start coaching colts so they can come down and be involved."

The West Australian

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