Posted in Featured News , Front Page News , Interleague - South Metro Stars , Uncategorised

Vastly experienced coach John Burke will take the reins of the SMJFL’s Under 13 Interleague team in 2016.

A Level 2 Accredited coach, Burke has 16 years of coaching experience at both junior and senior level, including at SMJFL club Beaumaris.

Burke has also led multiple premiership-winning teams throughout his coaching career. Most recently, Burke steered the Black Rock Jets to a drought-breaking Southern Football Netball League premiership in 2015.

And Burke said that after concluding his three-year tenure at the Jets at the end of last season, he was keen to fulfil his long-held desire to coach at junior representative level and share his wisdom and coaching philosophies with the under-age stars.

“I’ve always wanted to (coach) Interleague, I’ve always wanted to give back to the Interleague squad,” Burke revealed.

“My sons have gone through it and I just saw some areas that I believe could be improved. So instead of just sitting back thinking about it, I thought I might just put my hand up and if I get selected I would be able to impart some of those things that I believe could help junior football at Interleague level.”

Burke will be ably assisted by a well-credentialed coaching panel comprising Darin Edwards, Michael Schmerling and Harry Stephens.

Edwards will be Burke’s right-hand man as Assistant Coach of the Under 13 Division 1 team, a role he fulfilled in 2015. He is very passionate about his football, in particular youth development, and has previously coached alongside Burke at Beaumaris.

Schmerling and Stephens are both young men embarking on their coaching careers, but have experiences in high-performance football environments and will bring key teachings from those elite set ups to the SMJFL Interleague squad.

Schmerling has a background in teaching and applied science and will take charge of the Under 13 Division 2 team on match day. He holds a Level 2 Coaching Accreditation and is a current VFL development coach at the Box Hill Hawks.

Stephens will be Schmerling’s Assistant Coach in the Division 2 team. He has played representative football at Under 16 and Under 18 level and is currently on the Northern Blues’ VFL development list.

Burke is looking forward to working alongside the trio to not only build competitive Under 13 sides for the 2016 Interleague Carnival, but also develop all of the players selected in the initial squad for representative football in future years.

“Because I see it as the first step in their Interleague and football progression, I think the success for us is to not only have a competitive side on the track when we play, but more importantly, every kid that has been invited to the first night… (has) a fantastic learning curve as to what SMJFL Interleague is all about,” Burke said.

“Even if you get released (from the squad), you go back… and you now know the effort that you need to put in before you get (to play representative football).

“It’s very important that for (Under) 13s it’s not a one-year program. It’s a three, four, five-year program.

“(I want to) make sure at the end of the day the kids really get something out of it.”


John Burke (left) hoists aloft Black Rock's 2015 SFNL Division 3 premiership cup with captain Cory Durie.

John Burke (left) hoists aloft Black Rock’s 2015 SFNL Division 3 premiership cup with captain Cory Durie.