2012 was a great year for football at St Michael’s. After back-to-back losses in previous grand finals, our Senior Boys Football team took home the elusive trophy in a thrilling win against Westbourne.
During that year, Michael Wassertheil (OM 2006) was Assistant Coach and Jack Harvey (OM 2012) was a key member of the side. Fast forward six years and the pair are now working at Sydney and Richmond Football Clubs.
The two teams play each other tonight and ahead of the game, Old Michaelian (2007) Sam Confait, sat down with the pair to discuss their current roles, their journey to where they are now and what they have been up to since finishing school.
Jack’s role is to analyse opponents’ game styles and determine any weaknesses, to provide recommendations that might strengthen Richmond’s game-day strategy.
‘My role at the Richmond Football Club is to scout the opposition, and then work out what our structure is going to look like come game-day.’ says Jack. ‘Most of this work is actually not on game-day itself. All the heavy lifting is done during the week so the club is fully prepared and organised.’
Michael has been working at the Sydney Football Club for six years and his role is focused around his current area of study—dietetics.
‘I work alongside the club’s Dietitian on game-day as well as the Logistics Manager.’ says Michael. ‘However, it’s predominantly a dietetics role helping players with food and hydration requests before, during and after the game.’
So, how did the pair find their way into these roles?
‘After finishing Year 12, I commenced a Bachelor of Exercise Science at Australian Catholic University while coaching football at St Michael’s. It was the combination of both these experiences which led to an internship at the Sydney Swans Academy in Sydney, which then opened the door for a game-day position in Melbourne with the Swans. After six seasons it’s developed into my current role,’ says Michael.
However, it wasn’t always football for Michael. He initially worked in the music industry before his passion for diet and nutrition grew and he changed path.
‘I had a lot of things happen personally from 2008 to 2012,’ says Michael. ‘Although I loved working in music and I was having so much fun travelling around the world, it just wasn’t ingrained in my DNA. During that time I developed a passion for food and nutrition and this was the instigator for me returning to university.’
‘I am currently at Deakin University studying a Masters of Dietetics and I have 12 months left. I love going to university where I’m surrounded by people with the same passion as me. Hopefully this leads to a long career in the football industry, but I do have other ambitions away from football as well, so we’ll have to see what happens once I graduate in 12 months time.’
Jack, a Richmond tragic all his life, was offered an opportunity to volunteer at the Club through a mutual connection while still at school. It was then hard work, persistence and an unrelenting passion for football that led him to his current permanent role.
‘My dad knew someone that had just been appointed as assistant in the coaching department when Dimma (Damien Hardwick) was appointed in 2009 as Head Coach,’ says Jack.
‘I was doing bits and pieces; helping out our Property Steward who is responsible for all the gear at the Club. I could be pumping up footballs or picking up cones. This was when I was 16-years-old.’
‘When school finished I had no idea what I was going to do. I was always so passionate about football that it was easy to explore that as an option,’ says Jack.
‘After school, I coached football at St Michael’s for a year and really enjoyed that. Through my connection with Richmond I then started at their VFL side, the Coburg Tigers (now known as Lions), and for the last three years I’ve been in the AFL system.’
Both Michael and Jack worked as coaches at St Michael’s, but Michael’s time as a coach really began during his final year of school.
‘I was no good at football in Year 12, so I needed to do something,’ laughs Michael. ‘I always loved the game and I had heaps of mates in the team, so I got into coaching from there. After finishing Year 12, it was a fantastic way to stay connected to the School and was also the perfect part-time job to have whilst at university, as football and sports science go hand in hand.’
In 2012, St Michael’s famously won the Grand Final against Westbourne after having been beaten the previous year by a kick after the siren. Jack played in both the loss and the subsequent victory, and in 2012, Michael was Assistant Coach.
When school finished I had no idea what I was going to do. I was always so passionate about football that it was easy to explore that as an option. After school, I coached football at St Michael’s for a year and really enjoyed that. Through my connection with Richmond I then started at their VFL side, the Coburg Tigers (now known as Lions), and for the last three years I’ve been in the AFL system.Jack Harvey (OM 2012)
‘I still have great memories of the last game we played before playing in that Grand Final against Loyola. It was do or die game and it was unbelievable,’ says Jack.
‘That was brilliant coaching,’ adds Michael.
‘Well it’s funny because Mr Montebruno (then St Michael’s Football Coach, current Director of Sport 7-12) actually wasn’t there for that game,’ says Jack.
‘The Grand Final in 2012 was crazy,’ says Michael. ‘It was low scoring because there was a gale force wind. We didn’t score at all in the last quarter, we just held on in survival mode.’
‘We had a five-year reunion of the premiership last year and it was great to see more than half the team there. It’s great to still have that connection six years later.’ says Jack.
Amazingly, both Michael and Jack also had the experience of being involved with Sydney and Richmond during Grand Final attempts. Michael was working for the team in 2014 and 2016 when they lost to Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs, and last year, Jack was in the box on Grand Final day after playing a key role throughout the year in the lead-up to Richmond winning the Premiership.
‘I was incredibly nervous that whole week. There’s so much pressure for something based on one day for a lot of good work throughout the year,’ says Jack. ‘The most satisfying moment was the experience of the day itself and the relief felt afterwards.’
Like any role, it’s the people that have really made a difference during Michael’s time at Sydney.
‘Thankfully I have a great relationship at the club, and am fortunate to have some extremely close friends and mentors, particularly our Dietitian and the Logistics Manager,’ says Michael.
Both Jack and Michael illustrate how important persistence, determination and passion are in order to make the most of the opportunities life throws at you.
‘Anyone can open a door, but it’s up to individuals to walk through that door and show their value to an organisation.Michael Wassertheil (OM 2006)
To put it simply, do what you enjoy doing every day and keep going,
Jack Harvey (OM 2012)