Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 2:57 PM

In what has been an unprecedented time for football Australia-wide, all programs across the country have been heavily impacted, with the Claremont Football Club Talent Programs no different. Hear below from CFC Acting Talent Manager, Jordan Smith, who gives an update on all things Claremont Talent.


Obviously it’s a very unusual time at the moment, what can you tell us about how the current situation with COVID-19 has impacted the Claremont Talent Programs?

JS: It certainly is a frustrating situation for everyone. Our programs, along with all those across Australia, have come to a complete halt, with the players currently working through a training program away from the club. It’s obviously important to keep things in perspective at the moment, so we’ve spoken to the boys about showing empathy towards those most affected and ensuring that they’re doing their bit to stop the spread. If nothing else, hopefully this enforced break from structured football sees them able to allocate more time to other areas of their lives, whether that be study, work, or just spending more time with their families.


What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of the situation?

JS: It’s the obvious answer, but I think the thing we’re all craving at the moment is that connection with our mates. We’re doing everything we can to keep that going in a virtual sense, but as a group of players, coaches and support staff, the thing we love most is rocking up to the club during the week and enjoying each other’s company. Not being able to do that has certainly been tough, but hopefully this situation will make us all appreciate how lucky we are even more when we eventually come out the other side.


What are some of those things you’re doing to keep the playing group connected?

JS: Our Colts Coach, Matt Angus, has been brilliant in heading up an online initiative aimed at keeping the boys engaged with each other throughout this time, which he’s labelled the “COVID Cup”. Last week the boys were tasked with filming and sending in their own “Goal of the Year” nominations, with some pretty impressive entries coming through. Apps like FaceTime and Zoom have also been getting a big workout, as we aim to stay in touch as much as possible.

How was the Colts preseason tracking? There must be high expectations for this year after last year’s premiership?

JS: Not at all. At the end of the day we’re about development first and foremost, with winning a nice bonus on top. That being said, the need for the players to learn winning habits is an important aspect of that development in itself, so we certainly still want to win every game we play. The answer is still “No” though! The nature of Colts football is such that every year is a completely clean slate with such a high turnover of players. I know Harro [CFC Senior Coach Darren Harris] has been really pleased with the quality group of graduating Colts who’ve joined his senior program this preseason. At our end though that’s meant only five players from the premiership team you mentioned are actually still with us this season, meaning it really is a fresh start. I look upon that as a positive though, in the sense that a new playing group brings a fresh enthusiasm to the track each session and rules out the risk of any complacency carrying over from last year. This year’s Colts squad are a great group of young men committed to realising their potential as a collective, and their attitude towards the preseason has been reflective of this. We’d had a couple of hit outs against other clubs prior to the shutdown, where the boys showed some promising signs and gave us a glimpse at the style of footy that the coaches have been working hard on instilling into the group.


A word also on the Futures group, where were things at for them?

JS: Yeah, we were three rounds into the Futures season and the boys were showing some strong improvement which had the coaching staff excited for the remaining six games. We’d just come off a fantastic opportunity for the Great Southern Storm squad to represent Claremont in our Round 3 fixture which was brilliant for those guys to get involved too.


At the end of February, the Claremont Talent Programs went through a significant change, with Talent Manager Warren Parker departing to take on the Football Operations Manager role at the East Perth Football Club, no doubt leaving a big hole at Tigerland?

JS: Absolutely. Warren was a terrific servant of the Claremont Football Club for the eight years he was here and left an indelible mark on our talent programs. His passion, dedication and good humour will be missed within our four walls, but we certainly wish him all the best over at East Perth. The show goes on though (well sort of anyway, given the current circumstances!) and the positive thing for our programs is that Warren has left everything in a strong position for us to move forward and continue to prosper.


Do you perhaps have a message for the Tigers faithful to finish?

JS: We’re incredibly lucky to have so many great people who support our club and our talent programs to make them what they are – I hope everyone stays safe, follows the guidelines in place, and looks out for one another over the coming months. The Claremont Football Club has come through many challenges before, and we’re all looking forward to coming out the other side of this one too and seeing everyone back at Revo Fitness Stadium as soon as it’s safe to do so.