Melbourne Storm has officially launched its new elite development program in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast Academy.
The program has been established to provide an elite pathway for juniors through the Sunshine Coast Falcons and Southeast Queensland.
Former Storm Premiership player and now Head of Pathways, Tim Glasby, said the program will further strengthen the Club’s commitment in developing talent in the region.
“We’ve been in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Falcons since 2014 and this is another avenue in which we can increase our footprint in the Sunshine Coast region,” Glasby said.
“Typically, the model has seen non-selected NRL listed players drop back into the Q-Cup competition, so we already have a strong relationship with the Club.
“Trent Loiero is a great example of a player who was recruited directly from the Falcons to Storm, as well as Christian Welch from our other Feeder Club Brisbane Easts, so we know just how important these pathways are to provide that direct opportunity to play first grade football.
“We’re really excited about this program which enables us to invest in the local talent and hopefully get them to a position where they are ready to play in the NRL.”
Toby Poole has been appointed coach of the Academy while Joel Gill has resumed the role of Pathways Performance Coach.
Poole worked in strength and conditioning at the Broncos in 2006 before moving to Sarina in Queensland to start an academy. He was assistant coach at the Sunshine Coast Falcons under-20 side in 2016. Poole is currently Head of Physical Education at Caloundra State High, Partnership School of the Storm, where he implemented its rugby league program. Meanwhile, Gill commenced his role as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Sunshine Coast Falcons Under 21’s in November of 2020 before becoming the Strength and Power Coach in October 2022. He also spent time with the Cyclones and Tornadoes as Pathways Physical Performance Coach. Both Poole and Gill have also worked within the Melbourne Storm Pathways in volunteer roles for several years.
Training for the Academy commenced on November 9. The program will consist of three field sessions and two weight sessions per week for selected players.
Meet the players involved in the Academy: