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Developing the best: Sam takes the reigns


One of the secret weapons Luke Mahoney brought to Fitzroy when he came was the clubs new Development Coach, Sam Bishop (pictured left with Bernie Carter), who is really excited about the opportunity to work with our talented youngsters as well as the defensive line.

As the saying goes, when you want something done you ask a busy person, and Sam certainly fits the bill. Hes a physical education teacher at Kew East Primary School, Division Sport Coordinator for the Boroondara Division of School Sport Victoria and he and his wife, Ange, recently welcomed baby Elias, who is now just seven months old.

The partnership between Sam and Mahns goes back to St Kevins Old Boys where they met when Sam came to play, aged just 21. The two coached together last year at Brunswick NOBS.

We asked Sam a few questions about his introduction to Fitzroy and what he could tell us about our new senior coach.

What is the role of a development coach?

The role of development coach is really important at a footy club. In this role, I'm going to work with the younger players to develop their footy ability in a variety of areas. This might be skill level, game sense or leadership skills. With so many talented young players, it is exciting to be in this role at Fitzroy.

What did Luke ask you to focus on for Fitzroy when you came across?

Mahns has got me working with the D Squad on improving their footy. They work really hard with Hurls on their fitness, with an extra session each week and I am going to complement that by helping the boys develop their footy. All the players have outlined their strengths and areas for improvement. As a group at training on selected nights throughout the year we are going to work on those areas of improvement while continuing to build on the players' strengths. To aid their individual and group development, I will also be giving the boys feedback after game day.

On match days I will be taking control of the back line. This is an area in which I have had a lot of playing and coaching experience. I am really excited to be working with such a talented defensive group this year!

What insights can you give us about some of the young players coming through?

We definitely have a strong pool of young talented players on the playing list this year. I am looking forward seeing these guys take the field for our opening few games of the season. They have all put in a strong preseason and I am sure they will hit the ground running when the real stuff starts.

What does it say or represent when a player like Nino, comes up through a club and progresses quickly to a higher level of the game?

I have only been lucky enough to see Nino play a quarter of our practice game against Therry, but from what I saw he is a special player. I think it speaks volumes of the opportunity that the club has provided Nino. This shows the club has confidence in and fosters their youth. Hopefully Nino will get plenty of opportunities in the VFL this year.

How have you found your introduction to Fitzroy?

I have felt welcomed by all of the players and coaching staff throughout the preseason. It has been a very enjoyable experience so far and I am raring to go for the season ahead. Fitzroy is a club with such a rich history, I have always looked at Fitzroy football club from a far with fondness. I am honoured to be given an opportunity to be part of such a proud club.

Clearly you've had a lot of good experience at a couple of VAFA clubs... What are you hoping to achieve in this role or with Fitzroy more broadly?

I have been involved with three VAFA clubs over the past 11 years; St Kevins, Kew and Brunswick NOBS. I have been part of a few successful teams as a player and coach over that time and I hope this year I can bring my experience to make a positive impact at Fitzroy. Even though I have only been around Fitzroy for a short period of time, it has been long enough to feel very much a part of the club. I think with everything that Mahns has but in place throughout the preseason, the boys have a great opportunity to achieve success this year!

What can you tell us about Luke?

Where to start... I first played with Mahns at St Kevins when I was 21. He was already a legend of the club then and was a terrific player and leader. He helped to make me feel very welcome at St Kevins and I learnt a lot from him as a player. Working as an Assistant Coach with Mahns last year showed me he has a wealth of footy knowledge. Throughout the year I heard Mahns deliver some inspiring speeches which the boys who play seniors this year can look forward to. All the players can learn a lot from Mahns, Pickers and Bernie throughout the year.



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