Meet our team of highly experienced and passionate industry professionals, helping to create and deliver an elite program dedicated to developing the next generation of AFL champions.
Sam Cousens is the Head Coach and High Performance Manager of the WESTSTAR Academy. Alongside his WESTSTAR commitments, Sam is also the current WA talent scout for the Richmond Football Club and the Forwards coach for WA 16’s State Academy. Sam is highly motivated and well regarded as a development coach with previous credentials including seven years working as the Claremont District Football Development Officer. Sam’s passion for development will ensure all WESTSTAR athletes are maximising their potential.
Alex Silvagni is a current AFL footballer and leadership group member with over 12 years of experience in the AFL, VFL and WAFL environments. He has completed his Level 2 AFL coaching course, during which, he was an assistant coach for the WA state under 18’s team.
Alex has completed an M.B.A degree and a Bachelor of Science, which has allowed him to develop his own personal and professional skills.
Matt de Boer is a current AFL footballer and leadership group member and has played 166 AFL games primarily as a midfielder/forward, as well as representing all available state teams from 15’s through to 18’s, which culminated in All-Australian selection.
Matt’s wealth of experience has played a major role in developing WESTSTAR into a high performance football program.
Matt has also completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Western Australia with a High Distinction average as an example of the importance of balance in an athlete’s lifestyle.
Bec Davis comes from a footballing family with both her father and brother having significant careers in both WAFL and state football teams. Following her eldest son’s selection in the WA state AFL 12’s team she identified an obvious gap within the WA Football Development pathway noticing virtually no on-going development for talented West Australian footballers between the ages of 11-15.
With football academies being firmly established for this age group within Victoria, N.S.W and QLD there was no comparative option in W.A. In keeping with her personal philosophy of developing young talent and of her own initiative she set up WESTSTAR.
Her passion is to provide an elite program for talented young West Australian footballers who are keen to enhance their skills via a professional program delivered by skilled and competent football professionals.
Originally from Victoria, Michael spent 3 years as an assistant coach to Brendan Bolton at the Box Hill Hawks. Michael then coached Aquinas College in the VAFA before being appointed as head coach of the Basin FC for 5 years. Since his relocation to Perth, Michael has coached the Peel Thunder under 16’s and is currently the senior assistant and midfield coach with the WA State under 16’s. Michael is the current coach of the Peel Thunder Colts.
Ray has over 20 years experience in the WA development pathway and WAFL competition. Ray started his football journey in 1998 at the age of 13, where he was part of the WA development squad for 4 years. In 2001, Ray joined the West Perth Football Club in their Colts division, before joining the WPFC senior team in 2003. Ray enjoyed a stellar 187 game career at WPFC from 2003-2015. During that time, Ray was a club vice-captain, WA state game playing member, two time runner up B&F winner and premiership player. In 2013, Ray was awarded life membership for his contribution to WPFC during his time there.
Post his playing football career, Ray has turned his attention to coaching the game he loves. Ray began his journey in 2013 as a senior development coach for WPFC. Over the past 5 years, Ray has been the fitness coach for Whitford Amateurs FC, a 15’s and 16’s assistant coach at WPFC and is currently a Fremantle FC Next Generation academy coach for the West Perth district. Ray is currently working his way towards a level 2 qualification.
James is a titled Sports Physiotherapist as endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and a clinical director at WA SportsMed Physiotherapy. James has worked in the AFL with the Fremantle Dockers and Western Bulldogs Football Clubs and has a keen interest in adolescent athletic development.
Ron de Boer brings a wealth of experience as a coach and administrator. He has coached a number of football teams including Stare 15s Schoolboy Teams. He has a Physical Education Degree, taught PE for a number of years and was a Senior High School Deputy Principal prior to his recent retirement from the WA Education Department.
John Vincenti is an Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (ASCA) professional coach with an Australian Weightlifting Federation (AWF) Level 3 coaching accreditation. John has over 20 years of experience working with high performance teams, in the areas of AFL, Rugby League, Weightlifting, Volleyball and Basketball. His commitment to developing young athletes in the area of strength and conditioning is second to none.
Darryn Sargant is currently the AFL Podiatrist and member of Peak Podiatry, Perth’s premier sports and family podiatry practice. WESTSTAR athletes are encouraged to visit Peak Podiatry to receive 10% off their initial consultation.
Mark Neates is one of Perth’s longest serving high performance coaches, specialising in speed and power. He has a wealth of AFL experience including his time as a sprint coach for the West Coast Eagles from 1986 until 2000, where he enjoyed the success of two premierships and many finals campaigns. Mark’s experience also includes time at the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Football Club. Mark was also the former sprint coach of the State AFL under 18’s team and five WAFL Clubs.
Outside of being a club coach, Mark has also enjoyed much success as a private sprint coach. He has privately coached three Brownlow Medallists including Ben Cousins, Simon Black and Shane Woewodin. Along with many other AFL stars including Elliot Yeo, Patrick Cripps, Harry Taylor and Dean Cox to name a few.
Darren Kowal is the Academies Specialist Kicking Coach. Darren brings an enormous amount of knowledge and experience having spent 14 years competing at AFL and WAFL level where he played over 100 games for both the Melbourne Football Club and Claremont Football Club. Renowned for his sublime foot skills as a player, Darren is passionate and committed to working closely with the WESTSTAR athletes to improve kicking techniques and efficiency. Darren is a Level 2 accredited coach and has a Bachelor of Education specialising in Health & Physical Education (John XX111 College).