Expect a thorough and rigorous approach to the 2019 SEJ Junior Development Program after the appointment of Tim McGibney to the position of SEJ Director of Coaching.
McGibney, who played for Warragul and Gippsland Power in his early years, had a promising football career cut short after breaking his neck in his late teens.
The football tragic then began his coaching career at Garfield, before quickly earning a rise up the ranks. He has been a senior assistant for the Casey Demons VFL team for the last two years and was the backline coach for the Demons in the inaugural year of the VFLW competition.
He is now responsible for the coordination of the SEJ Junior Development Program (U13, U14, U15, U16, U17 and U15 and U18 Girls) with all seven squads to compete in the AFL South East Regional Carnival to be held over the Queen’s Birthday weekend next year.
McGibney said the importance of the role was not lost on him as he looks to develop some of the elite talent in the region.
“There’s such a wide scope for football development in the region and the SEJ Junior Development Program plays a huge role in that development space,” McGibney said.
“The SEJ has some amazing young talent running around, and getting development into that talent is going to benefit all the key stakeholders in the long run. The kids are talented, but they don’t know what they don’t know, so I’m looking to use my skills and knowledge to make them better footballers.”
McGibney said he was also attracted to the personal development side of the program.
“Without doubt, the whole program is teaching these young footballers the right way to go about things, the good habits in football and not the bad, and that’s very appealing to me as a development coach.
“We have the same philosophies at Casey, and having sessions from organisations like SALT (Sport And Life Training) is also going to help these young people going forward.”
McGibney said he was looking forward to working with SEJ Operations Manager Nicole Edney and Melbourne FC Academy Manager Kyle Docherty to develop programs that attracts and challenges the finest playing and coaching talent in the SEJ competition.
“I think of myself as a very creative person and I have some ideas that I am very keen to work my way through,” McGibney said.
“Working with Nicole has been a pleasure to this point in time because she has the operational experience to know what will work and what might not hit the mark. She has been a fantastic sounding board and I think, with a collaborative approach, we will refine things and make the program a huge success for all participants.”
McGibney said offering a pathway to the elite talent in the region was one of the most appealing aspects of the program.
“It’s exciting for me because I immerse myself in footy, I love to see the elite talent coming through, and the pathway for males and females through to the Southern Stingrays and Gippsland Power is one of the most crucial aspects of the program,” McGibney said.
“With Melbourne and St Kilda both having NGA’s (Next Generation Academies) in the region, it’s really important that we are constantly identifying talent and pushing it in the right direction. Making sure the pathway links in the right fashion and is serving all key stakeholders in the right manner is a crucial part of the program.”
McGibney, who has worked closely with coaches like Justin Plapp, Jade Rawlings and Matt Egan, said the development of coaches was also a key focus going forward.
“When building a roadmap for this program one of the first things we discussed was interviewing the coaches from last year and getting their feedback on how we can better the program,” he said.
“The development of the coaches is equally as important in my opinion, because they can better themselves and build a platform for their coaching going forward. I was in exactly the same place not that long ago so I understand how quickly things can progress from a coaching point of view.”
So – with Tim McGibney at the helm – we can expect a thorough and rigorous program in 2019.