THE SENIOR coaching prospects of Peter Sumich and Brett Montgomery have been boosted after the pair was accepted into the AFL's coaching accreditation course for 2016.
After a lengthy interview process, the AFL notified successful applicants on Monday, with assistants Justin Longmuir (West Coast) and Jade Rawlings (Melbourne) rounding out the second intake of the level four program.
There are now 12 coaches completing the course, which the AFL hopes will eventually become mandatory for those applying for senior positions in the future.
A long-time assistant at West Coast and now Fremantle, Sumich applied for a number of senior roles while serving as John Worsfold's right-hand man before moving to the Dockers in 2011.
He made the surprise move into development this year in a role change that could have boosted his credentials during the application process for the AFL course.
Sumich, 48, has also coached his own team at WAFL level with South Fremantle (2000-2001) and played 150 games for West Coast, winning premierships in 1992 and 1994 as the club's leading goalkicker.
Montgomery, who is entering his ninth season as an assistant coach, was an unsuccessful applicant to replace Brendan McCartney at the Bulldogs in 2014 after being considered the favourite.
A premiership player with Port Adelaide in 2004, the 42-year-old started his coaching career with Carlton in 2008 and has been both an assistant coach and strategy and opposition coach with the Dogs for the past five years.
Rawlings, 38, is entering his 10th season as an assistant coach, while
Longmuir, the youngest of the inductees at 35, is in his seventh season as an assistant at AFL level.
Both impressed in the field of nine applicants, having each held diverse roles with teams at different stages of their development.
The four new inductees, who will largely complete the course separately from last year's intake, will come together in Melbourne for their first session next month.
They will each be assigned a coaching mentor and will complete a program tailored to their experience level, graduating at different stages.
Carlton coach Brendon Bolton is the only graduate from the inaugural intake, which included John Barker (Carlton), Stuart Dew (Sydney Swans), Simon Goodwin (Melbourne), Robert Harvey (Collingwood), Adam Kingsley (St Kilda), Simon Lloyd (Geelong), Matthew Nicks (Port Adelaide) and Blake Caracella (Geelong).
The course's development has been led by the AFL's Michael Poulton. with input from former senior coaches Brendan McCartney and Neale Daniher and Worsfold, who was heavily involved before returning to coaching with Essendon.
The curriculum is based on a model from the International Council for Coach Education, which has been tailored for the AFL by McCartney.
The League is hoping to continue involving national soccer coach Ange Postecoglou in the course, as well as Basketball Australia high performance manager Jan Stirling and Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander.
AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw, who was a non-voting member of the interview panel for all nine applicants, said the AFLCA's experience working on the program last year left it in no doubt it was a "winner".
"The feedback from last year's participants has been overwhelmingly positive and the syllabus is very challenging and robust," Brayshaw told AFL.com.au.
"From the standpoint of the AFL Coaches Association, the concept of a level four program is very important as a 'finishing school' for aspiring senior coaches."