Published on October 27, 2017 3:46 pm

2016 Stan Alves Youth Coach of the Year winner, Patrick Irwin. Photo: Sunraysia Daily

2017 Youth C.O.T.Y nominees

Today we continue our coverage of the 2017 AFCA Coach of the Year nominee profiles, as we take a look at four of the state’s top Youth coaches in the running for the Stan Alves Youth Coach of the Year Award. Mitch Wynd reports.

Four outstanding coaches are in the running for the Stan Alves Youth Coach of the Year Award which will be presented at the AFL Victoria Community Football Awards dinner on Friday November 3.

The prestigious award is one of seven that will be handed out with winners also to be crowned in the NAB AFL Auskick, Junior, Female, Senior, Umpire Coach (Country & Metro) and Lifetime Achievement categories.

See below for a brief summary of the  Stan Alves Youth Coach of the Year Award nominees:



Lachlan is a highly organised coach who ensures that all coaching and support staff members are up to date and informed, without being overbearing. Parents value his focus on players to not just develop themselves as footballers, but as good members of the community. Amidst a season full of focus and dedication, Lachlan sets time aside for fun training sessions that focuses more on enjoyment. This positive environment has led to success, with Lachlan coaching the U16s to four Grand Final appearances for three wins in 2013, 2014, and 2016.


MATT GEE (Beaconsfield JFC)

Matt coaches his team with a keen eye for details and ensures that all of his players and coaching staff are kept in the loop. Each of his players – boys and girls – are treated equally and their input is valued. With a strong understanding of each individual player, Matt is able to empathise and work through any and all issues that arise. The focus is on the fundamental skills for Matt, as mastering the absolute basics is necessary for any aspiring player. All this has led to some brilliant success, with his team claiming their fifth consecutive premiership this year.


JOHN SZANYI  (Altona Juniors FC)

John brought a new level of professionalism to the Altona Juniors Football Club, by introducing new drills to improve players on both sides of the body, and improved match simulations. He worked closely with all aspects of the club: players, coaches, training personnel, and the committee. The team has been moulded into a respectful, selfless, and team-first outfit, and it has paid dividends with an undefeated season. John also took the time to communicate with players’ parents to ensure that they are thriving off the field as well as on the field, as off-field pursuits like study as well as mental health come first before football.



Troy comes from an assistant coaching role at the Western Jets, and his work with some of the state’s best footballers is reflected in his work at Melton. He utilises vision, whiteboard sessions, Q&A sessions, player-driven reviews, and exams to get the best out of his players. During matchday, Troy has a player rotation system that evenly spreads game time, and demonstrates his dedication to his role. He also ensures that his players demonstrate the values and behaviours that reflect the club in a positive light. With experience in managing a Sport, Recreation, Leisure & Youth department with his local council, Troy really understands the importance of health and wellbeing, and how to communicate with the youth.


STAY TUNED later this week for a closer look at this year’s Peta Searle Female Coach of the Year nominees…

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