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Pathway to Storm showing results

The new Melbourne Storm pathways program is proving to be a game changer for male and female players in Victoria hoping to wear the purple jersey.

With the first season of the Storm U17 Harold Matthews and U19 SG Ball competitions complete and the U21 Jersey Flegg team still in the hunt for a finals berth, more players than ever have been introduced to the Storm standards and culture.

Having launched its Academy program at the beginning of the 2023 season, Melbourne Storm has since introduced a comprehensive pathways program for players whose dream it is to play in the NRL.

The “Road to AAMI Park” pathways strategy now includes an integrated program for male players and has been further expanded in 2024 to include the first ever Storm Female Development Squad.

“We know there is untapped talent in Victoria and we want to give these players every chance to play at the highest level,” Storm Head of Pathways, Tim Glasby, said.

“We’ve not only established the three male junior rep teams but now have in place our development programs that help to identify the best male and female players in Victoria.

Together with the NRL, we are also helping to deliver the RISE program which gives younger players and coaches with specialised training and education in rugby league.

“Our male and female under 17 programs feature 100% Victorian players and we have seen great development across all programs in a very short period of time.

“We’ve been really impressed with the growth of players already, with some including Waka Hammond, Suli Pole and Hugo Peel given the opportunity to train with the NRL squad throughout the season,” Glasby said.

In addition to the introduction of the pathway’s programs, Storm high-performance staff have been working with rugby league Academy Schools and set up a new Coaching Class, giving local coaches the opportunity learn from the likes of Craig Bellamy, Ryan Hinchliffe, Jason Ryles, Marc Brentnall, Todd Lowrie, Aaron Bellamy and Matt Duffie.

“We’ve also introduced a new coach development program this season to help local club and school coaches learn about our coaching methods and strategies.

It’s important we give these coaches the skills to take back to local footy – that’s not only going to lift the standard of coaching but help with the development of players when they are playing school and club footy,” Glasby said.

“Mark Russell has been a great asset as our Jersey Flegg coach and brings some incredible experience to the coaching team, but we are also seeing great development in Tony Adam and Ash Lanfranchi who are coaching our Harold Matts and SG Ball teams and who have both come from the Victorian system.

“This is just the beginning for us though. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us in building both the male and female pathways and give young Victorians the chance to play for Storm in the future.”

While players involved with the junior representative program who finish early in the season return to their local club, Storm continue to monitor and develop them through their Hurricanes and Tornadoes programs, tailored for the continued development for those younger aged players.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.