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Developing football at grassroots

(L-R): David Noble, Dale Tapping, Harris Andrews and Andrew Crowell speaking at the Community Club Masterclass. - Brisbane Lions
(L-R): David Noble, Dale Tapping, Harris Andrews and Andrew Crowell speaking at the Community Club Masterclass.

The Brisbane Lions want to see football prosper in Queensland and take on some of the responsibility themselves to make sure this happens.

On Monday night at the Gabba, the Lions hosted a Community Masterclass where elite coaching staff, player and the Club’s head of wellbeing shared their football and administration expertise to forty members of the Queensland grassroots AFL community.

General Manager of Football David Noble, Midfield Coach Dale Tapping, Head of Personal Excellence and Wellbeing Andrew Crowell and defender Harris Andrews fronted the Lions four-man panel to talk with local coaches and administration staff on leadership, culture and wellbeing.

Much to the group’s delight, they were also given a tour of the Lions’ facilities.

“I think it’s part of our responsibility to develop football at the grassroots,” Noble said.

“We want to be able to help them apply some of our principals and things we do every day at their level.”

Matt Argus, a football operations co-ordinator at the Aspley Hornets was one who attended the night.

"It was a thrill to see how the Club operated behind the scenes. As a lifelong Lions fan, listening to Noble speak helped gain an understanding of what the Club have put in place for future success."

“You hear about how it’s going but the only thing we [from the outside] can judge it on is our weekly performances,” Argus said.

“The way he spoke about it from the top down to bridge that gap and work towards the same goal was fantastic.”

Argus also gained great insight listening to Crowell speak on the Lions’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Despite being around football his whole life and playing in the NEAFL competition the last four years, this was not something he was familiar with.

“That’s the side of football I’ve never had much involvement in,” he said.

“It was just really interesting to see how players are managed this day.

“Understanding that people have different personalities, so you need to structure your approach to different individuals.”

Crowell got just as much from the night, realising how mental health is becoming a priority for grassroots clubs. 

“It was really good. For me, it’s comforting and reassuring that there’s a lot of coaches out there in different levels of AFL that are so interested in providing good wellbeing programs for their players,” he said.

“Lots of questions were asked about how to do it better and equip them with the skills they need to equip them to be strong mentally and physically.

“People in positions of power are actually taking it seriously.

“Ultimately, you’re going to get better results from your players. Happy people perform better.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs