One of Gold Coast’s 2019 highlights off the field has been the development of its Personal Excellence team, one of the most heavily resourced of its kind in the AFL.

Personal Excellence encompasses player welfare and personal development with the aim of supporting the club’s male and female players in their endeavours away from football.

An addition to the team throughout the season has been local Yugambeh man Luther Cora as a consultant Indigenous Lead.

One of the team’s goals this season has been to lift the level of engagement amongst players off the field, be it in university studies, certifications or trades.

“(We’re) making sure that they’re not just footballers but they’re building for life after football,” Head of Personal Excellence Shaun Hart told SUNS Media.

“We have had a growth from low percentages to over 80% of players who are meaningfully engaged in off-field activities.

“21 players in our male program are in Griffith Uni in courses there, there are also two women’s players in Griffith Uni as well which has been fantastic.

“We’ll continue to grow that space and achieve 100% in the next 12 months I’ve got no doubt about that.”

The department also aims to upskill players in life skills such as cooking, public speaking and relationship building.

Leadership has been a key theme, with a part-time sports leadership consultant brought on to strengthen this area within the playing group. 

“In our leadership program we have seen some growth, particularly in our middle tier of players,” Hart said.

“We do a survey to ask players to rate (other) players in areas of leadership and how they’re performing and growing.

“Our aim is to achieve leadership depth and we’re certainly growing that with some room to improve of course going forward.” 

Outside of the players, the Personal Excellence team also hold events throughout the year to engage and include families, a key pillar of the club’s values.

“We’ve had some great events not only with players but with partners and parents and families,” Hart said. 

“(It’s) seen our club become a club that’s far more connected and living of the family value that we really want to aspire to.”

The Personal Excellence team were heavily involved in providing assistance for the relocations of Izak Rankine, Jack Lukosius, Ben King and Jez McLennan after last year’s AFL draft and will again on hand as the 2019 AFL and AFLW drafts loom.