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Men's Football Manager's Update with Brad Dodd

Thursday, December 14, 2023 - 9:29 AM

Q: A bit of time has passed since the Grand Final, how do you reflect back on the day?

BD: The players, coaching group and staff were fantastic. I’m so happy for the 22, who are now premiership players. A lot of work was put in by the playing group over a number of years and to see them deliver under the pressure of a grand final was extremely satisfying. There were a lot of challenges over the year and the group was unflinching in their push for success. The challenge now is to go again and make sure we continue to strive to be better. 


Q: Have there been any player departures?

BD: There has been some player movement and we have had a significant reduction in our points allocation for assembling our squad for 2024. We were on 100 points in 2023 and this has been reduced to 85 points through a combination of improved performance over 3 years (90 is the base value) and the 5 point penalty with the TPP infringement. This has meant we’ve had to make some tough list management decisions, where we’ve had to cut back the number of players we have sitting on our list. 

Hugh Dixon has moved on to the VFL, where he has signed on at Southport, while Ryan Lester-Smith has retired and Eddie Simpson has stepped away from the WAFL. Sam Collins has also stepped away, where he will be travelling in 2024. Outside of these, we’ve managed to keep intact the core group. 

From a development perspective, we have loaned James Spadanuda and Luke Yeo to West Coast WAFL on season long loan deals. This is something we are always actively exploring, with Josh Browne spending the last 2 seasons there. West Coast have been excellent to deal with and we see it as an opportunity to fast track these players development. If we can get them back with 15-30 WAFL games under their belts then its win for us. 


Q: On the recruiting front, anyone you can announce?

BD: We’ve always been quite active on the recruiting front and while we have spoken to a few players this year, we’ve been a little restricted in trying to add players. Zach Rankin has spent a year out of the WAFL system, having played 15 games at Peel and he’s trying his luck with us. Zach is a highly competitive player, excellent endurance who hopefully has an injury-free run at it. His best is good enough and it’s up to him to string it all together. Jed Hagan has also returned after spending the season at Port Adelaide. He had a great season in the SANFL, finishing 3rd in his clubs B&F. He’s hit the ground running and will be a great addition to our forward group. Luke Strnadica is also another player who has returned. Luke couldn’t commit to the WAFL in 2023 due to work commitments. He’s looking to transfer back to Perth and is keen to resume his WAFL career and will help offset the loss of Hugh. 

We still have a couple of irons in the fire but I wouldn’t expect too much action from us on the recruiting front.

We also have a large number of Colts players joining the program. This is always exciting. It’s a huge step up but the lads have come in and attacked it with the right attitude. 


Q: What about off the field - any changes there?

BD: All the action has certainly been off the field this off-season. 

Firstly, our backline coach for the League, Paul Sanzone, has returned to West Perth where he’ll take on a development role while also coaching the Reserves. While it’s disappointing to see Sanza go, we understand and encourage the desire to take on new challenges. Sanza was a huge part of what was achieved in 2023 and we wish him every success. 

Our bench coach, Bradd Dalziell, has taken up a position with the West Coast WAFL program. Dalz has been a part of the furniture at the Sharks for a long time and it’s sad to see him go. 

Also off to West Coast is our awesome Doctor, Ben Grant. Ben has been outstanding in his role with us and it’s no surprise that the higher level has come knocking. 

But with those departures comes opportunity and we have promoted Adrian Ricciardello up into the League program to coach the Backs. Ricca has come through our Talent program, coaching the Colts and Reserves and has worked closely with the majority of our Senior group. It’s great to be able to reward from within.

We have added 2 experienced coaches into our Development program. Michael Farmer will coach our Reserves side and will work closely with Adam Dancey, who will be our Head of Development, and Paul Mews. Both have recently been Senior coaches in the WAFLW and have a wealth of experience across numerous roles. 

Michael has been a Talent Manager and Football Manager at Subiaco and spent the last 3 seasons coaching the Subiaco women’s team. Adam has coached in the East Fremantle Talent program previously, being a member of the coaching panel when the Sharks last won a Colts flag in 2017. He has been the Senior coach at Peel and Swan Districts in the WAFLW. We’re really excited what both coaches can bring to the program. 


Q: The players have begun pre-season - where are they training and how far away from a move back to Shark Park??

BD: The players have come back in good spirits and are already working hard. We are currently training at Cockburn ARC and have been unbelievably supported by the Fremantle Football Club. We can’t understate how thankful we are for their access over the past year and a bit. Its hard to know exactly when the actual oval will be ready to train on - there’s patches of green on the oval and the light towers is up. We all can’t wait to get back there to unveil the 2 premiership flags.