Colts making in-roads ahead of season start

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 7:47 AM by Katie de Haer

Newly appointed Colts coach Daniel Curtis' first foray into senior coaching has been a baptism of fire. 

After a solid pre-season, the WAFL Season was postponed just weeks before it was due to begin, and there were fears that this year's draft prospects would struggle to get a chance to play in 2020.

But now, with a start date pencilled in for July, players will take to the field and get their chance to impress in a shortened season. 

“The most important thing (during the shutdown period) was staying in the present with the players and understanding that the delay would only be for a period of time,” Curtis said.

“We chose to come out of it better for it and to make some in-roads while we had the chance, rather than sitting on our laurels.

“We stayed in the moment for what it was and continued onwards trying to build our overall systems and connections to the group. I feel like that will hold us in good stead now we’re getting closer to playing.”

Aspiring draftees were thrown a curve ball when the coronavirus pandemic hit and threatened to derail their AFL dreams, but Curtis said his players took it as an opportunity to improve, and now with confirmation of a season start date, the road ahead is looking brighter.  

“It was really difficult for the boys that are potentially in the mix,” Curtis said. 

“They’re obviously not going to have the same amount of opportunity as previous years (to impress) but it was a good opportunity for us to look at those individuals and what they needed to improve on in terms of their own game. 

“It was really important to make sure they put their heads down and focused on the things they can control, rather than what they can’t.” 

Curtis took the reins as Colts coach in December after two years as an assistant when Garry Moss departed for Perth Football Club. After beating Swan Districts and then bowing out against West Perth in last year’s Finals Series, Curtis said the group are determined to continue to develop.  

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of depth and a strong group that will allow us to be competitive in all games we play,” he said.  

“That’s what we’re really striving for – to be competitive. If we can do that, with belief in the game plan and belief in each other and trust the process, I feel like we’ll have a really positive year.

“There’s no real ceiling for us at this stage, we’re looking to get stuck into our work and continue to improve.” 

Curtis pointed to recent Royals draftees including Sam Powell-Pepper (2016), Brandon Starcevich (2017) and Damon Greaves (2018), and said that they provide evidence of a pathway into the AFL system.  

“They’re fantastic role models (and show) how close it is for some of those boys. 

“They’re strong examples of what’s required to get to the professional level, but we’re also encouraging the players to develop relationships with the guys in the senior side so that they can get an idea about their potential long-term development at East Perth. 

“It can be a little difficult geographically given we’re based out at Altone (in the City of Swan), but the more opportunities and communication we can have with the senior coaches and playing group, it will give this group the best opportunity to play senior footy and a really solid base for East Perth to build on.” 

A six-man leadership group has been named for 2020 with Adam Boules and Jaylen Colegate to co-captain the side. Kye Jasper, Cody Nash, Luke Lombardi and Jake Littleton have also been named in the group.