Intensity, unity and player development are the key focuses of inaugural Tasmania Devils head coach Adrian Fletcher.
Fletcher, who was appointed to the role last month, has an impressive football resume, having spent time as an assistant coach at Collingwood, Brisbane and Geelong and as a high performance manager and coach at AFL Queensland after a 231-game playing career across 13 seasons for Geelong, St Kilda, Brisbane and Fremantle.
“I was lucky enough to be under Mick Malthouse at Collingwood for five years,” Fletcher said.
“I was under Leigh [Matthews] for about four years [at Brisbane] and then under Mark Thompson [at Geelong], so you have got to be able to take those things that you learned there and put them into your own philosophies and get the group buy-in with the coaches so we can develop a plan that is unified.”
Fletcher is eager to bring his approach to coaching back to where it all began, with Fletcher recruited into the AFL system after growing up playing for Glenorchy.
“I was that excited to come back to Tassie. I grew up here and got to play for the state.
“I know people are passionate and we are here to make sure our young players get an opportunity in a high performance environment.”
Fletcher is confident that the state’s footballing future is a positive one.
“I’m excited. We have passion, heritage in the jumper and we have talent coming through.
“The under-15s and under-16s have been really strong in recent times, and we know that we should have four players drafted this year.
“We have to be consistent, create intensity and holistically look at our players to give them the best chance to play the game they love.”
AFL Tasmania is excited to announce that Adrian Fletcher has been appointed as the @TasmaniaDevils_ inaugural TAC Cup coach. 🏈
— AFL Tasmania (@AFLTasmania) October 12, 2018
With rich experience within the system, Fletcher is under no illusions as to the challenges that face players and talent pathways on the way to getting drafted.
“The bar has been raised to get kids drafted.
“But we believe we have the hubs [in the north-west, north and south] set up now to create a consistent intensity for these young players that will give them their best chance.
“We know that not everybody [can get drafted] – you have to have a lot going for you to get drafted, but we need to make sure that we give them the tools of the trade to give them a chance.
“We aren’t just about getting kids drafted. We are about getting kids to play the game and enjoy the environment. If they don’t get drafted we want them to go back into community footy and show some leadership qualities as players or coaches,” Fletcher said.
The Tasmania Devils talent pathway will see the state’s most promising talents, from the under-12s to the under-18s in the TAC Cup receive the opportunity to learn and train in a high performance environment.
“We are trying to create volume in our hubs with Jamie Hayward on the north-west coast, Darren Trevena in the north and Mathew Armstrong in the south.
“We will create an environment that is exciting where they will have fun.
“We are here to unify the state – we aren’t playing for Hobart and we are not playing for Launceston. We are playing for Tasmania and that is what we are about.”