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What US clubs taught David Noble

Josie Fielding  October 6, 2017 2:27 PM

 - Brisbane Lions

David Noble’s relationship with the Brisbane Lions did not start when he was appointed General Manager of Football in September last year. 

The Club has held a special place for Noble for nearly three decades, as it was Fitzroy who selected him with the 111th pick in the 1989 AFL Draft.

Noble came to Fitzroy from Tasmania, where he had won two premierships with North Hobart. None other than Senior Coach Chris Fagan was a regular opponent in the Tasmanian league at the time.

The pair stayed in touch and all these years later, now work alongside each other to strengthen the Lions’ list and aim to build a culture of success in Brisbane.

As Football Manager, Noble has been busy this week with the AFL Combine and the Free Agency period opening today. Not to mention trade period and the 2017 Draft only around the corner.

But his preparation for the 2018 AFL season extends much further than researching potential players for the Lions list.

Noble prides himself on thinking outside the box, or footy ground for that matter, on how a Club can improve.

Before he came to Brisbane, Noble worked in the same position at the Adelaide Crows. During his 10-year tenure with the Crows, he travelled overseas to the United States and observed different sporting club’s operations.

American clubs across different sporting codes welcomed Noble into their facilities and showed him how they operate behind the scenes.

Noble admired NFL powerhouse the New York Giants’ detail in their recruitment process. Particularly, “how they captured their information and how they presented their systems,” Noble said.

He also met with fellow NFL team the Seattle Seahawks.

“The Seahawks are really good. They gave me some good ideas when I went there to talk to them about different ways you would look at talent,” Noble said.

While baseball clubs provided new insight into how to look at analytics and data.

The trip provided food for thought on how an AFL Club could put some of these ideas into their own practice.

“Generally you come back and you go ‘you know what, we’re probably doing most of those things that they’re doing.’ 80% you come back and say we’re ticking the same box,” Noble said.

“Then there’s that 20% that’s made up of 10% improvement of what you’re actually doing. Then there’s 10% innovation.

“You come back and you go, ‘that’s a really good idea. We might be able to integrate that.’ Whether that’s modelling or the new stuff as far as organisational agility.”

Noble has developed his own 80:10:10 business model which reflects these thoughts and puts them into practice in his role as Football Manager at the Lions.