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Developing Future Talent












Our club has a proud history of producing footballers to play at the highest level in both WA and the VFL/AFL. From the halcyon days of Stan (Pops) Heal, Bill Dempsey and Mel Whinnen, through to modern day AFL heroes such as Quinten Lynch, Mark Seaby, Mark Le Cras, Nathan van Berlo, Jack Darling, Stephen & Bradley Hill and more recently Oscar Allen, Liam Baker and Jaxon Prior.

The Falcons has always had a core interest in fostering young talent from within our zones and giving those players every opportunity to realise their potential.

The Falcons Talent Pathway starts with metro and country programs for players from 13 years of age and provides a continuous pathway for aspiring footballers through into our senior club and the AFL. With a highly credentialed group of development staff and well-resourced programs, we boast one of the most successful development systems in the WAFL, with more than 75% of our current senior squad hailing from our zone development programs and 10 Falcon players currently playing in the AFL.

Moving forward, the club is keen to see our talent system entice our growing multi-cultural and Indigenous populations into our national game, as well as providing greater opportunities and support to our aspiring country players to have the resources and support they need to realise their dreams.


The Falcons has grown to be much more than just a football club; we are an integral part of our aligned communities. The club serves to provide support, resources and brand profile through a diverse range of programs, competitions and community events.

From the club’s Strategic Plan, three of the four key pillars are devoted to Talent Development:

  • Identifying talented players in both of our aligned regions and fostering development opportunities for these areas through to senior community football, WAFL and AFL ranks;
  • Providing a club premises with the ability to facilitate both the development of football and support additional projects within the Joondalup community;
  • Setting a standard for excellence in the WAFL competition through the professional standards we set in the recruitment and development of senior footballers.


  • 200 metro players enter our metro talent programs annually;
  • 90% of our Colts squad has been through our Talent Pathway;
  • 20% of the players in our talent pathway are from non–football backgrounds;
  • 75% of our league squad come from our zoned areas;
  • The club increases its talent pathway staff to include a staff member specifically dedicated to player welfare and social/ cultural development;
  • The club has in place a “developing leaders” plan to further increase the educational opportunities for our emerging players.


The following descriptions have been developed to ensure a clear understanding of the objectives and focus at each stage of a young player’s development. It begins with the Fundamental Stage (AFL junior), which includes all participants in the game and culminates in the Maintenance Stage (senior player). The transition stage, following a high performance career, generally refers to retirement from the game and is dependent on the individual’s circumstances and is not a considered to be a core stage nor is it a focus of this document, other than in the application of WAFL Club Academy exit procedures for those not drafted into the AFL.


Fundamental Stage (5 – 11 years) – AFL Junior

Objective: participation and learning of fundamental movement and game skills.

Program is well structured and fun. The emphasis is on the overall development of the participant’s fundamental motor skills and physical capacities using game related skill development activities. This is a critical period for motor skill development. Correct running, jumping and basic game skills should be taught, with a specific focus on establishing effective kicking mechanics. Participation in a range of sports is encouraged for all round physical and game sense development. Simple rules and ethics are introduced.

Sampling Stage (12 – 14 years) – AFL Junior / Youth

Objective: learning all the fundamental skills of the game and development of basic physical capacities, while continuing to develop all round sports skills.

Players learn how to train and consolidate the basic skills of the game. They are introduced to technical and tactical skills, including position specific, and basic performance capacities - e.g. warm up, cool down, nutrition, hydration, recovery, goal setting, etc. This is a critical period for physical and skill development. Focus of training is on learning rather than competing and a balance between training and playing is struck. Participants should continue to play a range of sports for all round development. This includes initial identification for regional development squads.

Identification Stage (15 – 16 years) – AFL Youth

Objective: development of higher level skills of the game and physical capacities and initial selection into state talent development programs.

Optimise development of fitness capacities, individual, positional and team skills. Develop higher level competition skills and provide appropriate competition opportunities to enhance learning and the opportunity to be identified for talent pathway programs.

Specialising Stage (17 – 18 years)

Objective: development of higher level skills of the game and physical capacities and initial selection into state and national talent development programs, including the NAB AFL Academy.

Optimise development of fitness capacities, individual, positional, team and competition skills. Provide best competition program for development and opportunities to be drafted.


Talent is often defined as one who possesses certain skill, ability or expertise all of which is repeatable. Furthermore this talent is not reliant on physical size or strength. This is even more relevant in the case of the 13 to 17 year old players we look to engage in the West Perth Development Programs. Talent in football can come in a number of forms and any combination of attributes can make a promising player. At West Perth as a simple rule we follow the following five principles as a starting point.

Kicking Efficiency




Pace versus Endurance

The player must be able
to consistently hit targets
both by hand and foot.

Kick left and right and execute a variety of kicks.

Under pressure, the player must consistently use the best option under time
and physical constraints.

Is the player strong in the contest, can they win the ball in tight contested areas?

Or is the player better used on the outside because they have pace and good skills?

Combination of both?

- does the player have a never give up mentality?

- does the player aggressively attack the football and their opponent?

- does the player have the ability to apply pressure through tackling and running.

Is the player’s speed an asset to their game or is their endurance an asset or do they have an elite combination of both?


When we
have the ball

When they have the ball

When the ball is in dispute

What does the player do when their team is in possession?

Do they have the ability to read the play or find space?

Do they have an understanding of good running patterns?

Do they talk to their team mates?

What does the player do when the opposition has possession of the ball?

Do they immediately man up
on an opponent?

Do they understand of defensive running (pushing back)?

Do they benefit the team through pressure acts, tackling and
constructive talking?

What does the player do
when the ball is in dispute?

Do they demonstrate competitiveness through pressure acts, finding space, blocking, constructive talking,
running patterns and reading the play (offensively and defensively)?

Ultimately the areas above, in collaboration with overall ‘Footy Smarts’,
will determine if an individual is a talented, developing footballer




In order to assist with our Talent Identification and Development program, at the beginning of the season coaches and club volunteers of Year 8 - 12 community and school teams within the West Perth District are asked to nominate the most talented players within their respective sides.

Coaches are reminded that even if they are small and show some good signs they may deserve nomination. Likewise, if kids are considered a ‘developing tall’ (key position), they also may be worth nominating.

However, this nomination does not guarantee an invitation. These nominations will give us a better understanding of the players in our district, and representatives from West Perth Football Club can then attend both school and community matches throughout the season to further assess players.

Each Community Club and School appoint a Talent Delegate who report back to the West Perth Football Club on nominated players. There is a series of delegate’s Talent ID meetings where volunteers from the junior clubs along with key WPFC personnel who will discuss final selection.

Unfortunately with the challenges we have all faced in 2020 there will be no selection trial matches. Additionally the 14s and 15s program have been modified to suit the current football climate.

Players will then receive invitations via mail or email if they have been selected to train with the squad.

Please respect the process.


Players are identified through the Talent Identification and Development Programs (Yilgarn, Djinda Falcons) in our particular country zones and invited to participate in the academy.


Year Group


Birth Month

Birth Year

Year 7

12 years old

January - June


13 years old

July - December


Year 8

13 years old

January - June


14 years old

July - December


Year 9

14 years old

January - June


15 years old

July - December


Year 10

15 years old

January - June


16 years old

July - December


Year 11

16 years old

January - June


17 years old

July - December


Year 12

17 years old

January - June


18 years old

July - December




It is important to start by stating that players can move in and out of the West Perth Talent Pathway at any stage from 14s, 15s, Futures, all the way up through Colts and even Senior football. Even at the highest levels we see players enter through ‘non-traditional’ means. Not making it into a specific group or being released from a specific program does not dismiss your opportunity to enter at another stage, level or age group.



For further information, please contact:

Talent Manager............................ Casey Haw 0433 305 141