In 2016, former Hawthorn premiership teammates Brad Sewell and Michael Osborne are set to draw on more than 350 games of elite level experience to launch a footy academy unlike any other.
The Australian Rules Football College aims to improve the football abilities of its students, while also placing an emphasis on education – much like America’s collegiate system, which considers education as important as sporting development.
Speaking to aflplayers.com.au, Sewell said the college’s focus on access to education opportunities, as well as elite performance coaches, separates it from other AFL academies.
“People admitted to the college will go through the program three days a week. Part [of that] will be the football program run by Michael Osborne and [part will be] the business diplomas and certificates, which essentially equate to first year at University.”
— ARFC (@ARFCollege) October 22, 2015
Together, Sewell and Osborne have achieved more than just on-field success.
Throughout his playing days, Sewell developed himself away from the field, completing a Bachelor of Commerce, with a Sport Management Degree from Deakin University.
On top of that, he’s currently undertaking an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) at Monash University.
The 31-year-old knows first-hand the value of partnering football and study.
“The football program here at the Australian Rules Football College will basically be a simulated AFL environment.” – Michael Osborne
“Ensuring players are doing something outside of football, whether it’s TAFE, university or some sort of work placement or work experience, has been critical to guys transitioning post football, so we’ve combined the two.”
Osborne, on the other hand, ventured into coaching after retiring from AFL in 2013.
He joined the Carlton Football Club as a development coach for two years and also featured as the club’s runner on game-day.
The 33-year-old has drawn on all of his experiences in the AFL system while shaping the curriculum for ARF College.
“The football program here at the Australian Rules Football College will basically be a simulated AFL environment,” Osborne said.
“The program will consist of development in different areas for the students in terms of their football development, leaderships, culture and strength and conditioning.
“We want to see players develop and improve and see their confidence levels rise, leading them to perform better on game day.”
The Australian Rules Football College accepts participants over the age of 16 with no requirements on athletic ability and runs between one and three years depending on student availability at their Melbourne location.