Robert Malone will take on the role as head coach for the newly founded Western Crows for the 2016 AFL New Zealand Premiership season.
Australian born Malone, has a lengthy history with the game in New Zealand. His composure, knowledge and experience is an asset to the developing sport and this was never more evident than with his efforts as Assistant Coach through the victorious 2005 International Cup campaign where New Zealand secured their best result in the Cups thirteen year history.
Recently Rob has continued with the Assistant Coaching role with the New Zealand Senior team and 2014 senior campaigns against AFL Academy and the 2014 International Cup. He is well noted for an eye to spot talent and currently assists in this capacity to support AFL recruitment.
A playing career that commenced in the West Australian Football League, netting over 125 games and 3 Premierships with the Claremont and West Perth Football clubs, reached its greatest heights when Malone was listed with the St Kilda Football Club for the 1992 / 93 seasons.
Malone stated, “I’m excited with the new competition and can’t wait until its commencement in February. I’ve seen the talent available at both Senior and Under 18 levels and there will be a couple of no brainers as to specific players that all coaches will be after. First we need the initial selection order and after that we can start to formulate our plans.”
Read more: New AFL competition to hit New Zealand
When asked about the “Wild Card” draft selection category within the AFL New Zealand National Draft, Malone was enthusiastic about the ability for coaches to put their own stamp on the available players.
“As I understand it, the wild card selections involves players who do not appear on the Preliminary Draft List. If this is the case then unknown talent is fair game. I know there are only a few wild card selections available to each team but the right guest player from Australia or unearthed superstar could make all the difference. Even if this involves securing an overseas player for a block of only two games, this will make a difference ” Malone said.
The Preliminary Draft List will not include overseas players but they may be selected in the Wild Card draft category. A full analysis of the AFL New Zealand National Draft will be made available following the release of team names and coaches.