Longley leads young Dockers
WA basketball great Luc Longley is this weekend chaperoning eight young Fremantle players in Melbourne as part of a bid by the club to shore up its leadership future.
Alex Silvagni, Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Barlow, Nat Fyfe, Greg Broughton, Stephen Hill, Nick Suban and Anthony Morabito are part of an inaugural leadership program inspired by a bequest by a late Dockers supporter.
The RCR Tomlinson-Jeff Hogan emerging leaders experience is expected to become annual.
The schedule has included sessions with Longley, a three-times NBA champion with Chicago and passionate Dockers fan, and dual Geelong premiership captain Tom Harley. The group also attended last night’s NBL match between Perth and Melbourne.
Hogan, who had mentored some young Dockers before he died last December, left money to the club through Perth engineering company RCR Tomlinson, where he was a director. He asked for the introduction of a scholarship program.
The leaders experience concept was then devised by Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond and the club’s clinical psychologist Kim Mercer, who has also joined assistant coach Simon Lloyd and sports science manager Jason Weber on the Melbourne trip.
Lloyd said that while captain Matthew Pavlich and other players such as Aaron Sandilands, Luke McPharlin, David Mundy and Garrick Ibbotson would remain the senior leaders, there were big expectations on the players chosen for the program.
He said the Dockers under new coach Ross Lyon were trying to build a similar leadership base to recent premiers Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn.
“For us to succeed, we need to pour in a lot of resources and develop and enhance the leadership skills of some of these younger players,” Lloyd said.
“You look at that group of eight … they’re a real core who are going to be an integral part of our future.
“We want them to develop themselves, but also collectively challenge each other.
“We’re really trying to empower our leaders and it’s got to start from somewhere. We do a lot for these younger guys coming through, but to be able to get out of town and get away to Melbourne allows us to focus on some of the things we want to get out of it.
“You develop trademarks at the start of the year and behavioural standards and we’re really making sure these guys drive that. This group is really important … some of them have already stood up in big games and each of them have played a couple of finals now.