Bradley and Tom share their SANFL internship story

Bradley's internship at SANFL

For many sports lovers it would be a dream to spend five days a week around their favourite game in one of their top leagues or clubs. We sat down with Bradley and Tom from the SANFL to hear their story.

For many sports lovers it would be a dream to spend five days a week around their favourite game in one of their top leagues or clubs.

For Bradley Hutchings, third year Bachelor of Business (Sports Management)student at Torrens University Australia, it’s his goal to turn his love for sport into a career he gets to enjoy every day.

Bradley grew up playing and watching all different kinds of sports in Minnipa, a small farming community on the west coast of South Australia.

Bradley's motivation for studying a Sports Management degree

“I have always had a strong passion for playing sports,” Bradley explained. “My two favourite sports are Australian rules football and basketball. Being from South Australia I have always loved the Adelaide Football Club and the Adelaide 36ers. I also love the NBA and I strongly follow the Houston Rockets as well as most Australian national teams.”

When finished school and started to think about his future, Bradley discovered a new passion for professional teams and the business management side of sport. It made perfect sense to turn this passion into a career.

“I chose to study Sports Management due to my love for sports. I also believe I have a strong background knowledge of the sports that I love, so I thought these would mix perfectly together,” Bradley said.

Studying Sports Management has opened up a whole world of opportunities

Through Torrens University Australia, Bradley was offered a Game Development Internship at the South Australian National Football League (SANFL): a great opportunity that he has now completed.

“I was informed about the Game Development Internship through my lecturer Darren Adamson,” Bradley explained, “who has been a great help in getting me out there and involved in the internship program. I also received good help from Torrens with my resume and advice on how to sell yourself in interviews. All this helped me to get the internship with SANFL.

I was asked if I could meet up with Tom Javor for an interview, where he explained to me what I would potentially be doing and how I would cope with the role.”

Tom Javor is the Zone Development Leader at SANFL who interviewed, hired and managed Bradley during his internship.

Even though he’s been working in Game Development at SANFL for almost ten years, Tom still loves his role now just as much as when he started

“I love being able to change children’s lives through football and offer the many programs that we have on offer to our community. It is extremely challenging to ensure I service all 26 clubs, 56 Auskick centres and all stakeholders and volunteers who support me in my role,” Tom explained.

Tom is often responsible for hiring interns for SANFL, and he offers this insight into the specific character traits that he looks for when selecting students for this role:

“I received Brad's application and reached out to him. We caught up for a coffee and discussed the potential placement and to see if he would be suitable.

Once I felt Brad was a good fit and he would benefit from the opportunity I did reference checks and created a template for him, encompassing as many of our programs in the time frame given. Brad was selected because it was clear he was a good young country boy with strong morals and a good work ethic.”

As for Bradley, he found Tom to be a great support during the internship role, helping with the Auskick program for both the North Adelaide and Central Districts zones.

As it turned out, due to COVID-19, Bradley was unexpectedly thrown in the deep end but he managed to make good with the situation.

“Tom gave me great advice on how to run these clinics and anytime I needed to ask a question I knew he would always reply. Tom has helped and supported me a lot.

Running the clinic on my own for the first time was a good challenge. Initially I expected some help but unfortunately Tom got COVID, so I had to run it by myself. That was a good learning opportunity for me and actually helped me grow tremendously,” said Bradley.

Tom was really impressed with how Bradley rose to the challenge, and he’s sure that he’ll have a great career ahead of him.

“This is my ninth year running the internship,” Tom explained, “and I take great pride in being able to help develop the university placement students' knowledge of the football industry and their life skills.

Brad is developing well and showed great growth in the role. I am confident like many before him he will go on to find employment in the sports industry.”

Bradley expects to graduate at the end of this year. So what’s next for his Sports Management career?

“I have learned a lot already through my internship about the industry, coaching and helping these young kids to play football.

I plan on graduating this year and aim to work in a professional sporting environment where I can work myself up into a future in the industry,” said Bradley.

SANFL hires interns every year. Maybe next year, it could be you.

Tom offers this final advice to other students who want to do what Bradley did and get themselves an internship at a professional sports organisation:

“The opportunities are there, you just need to be proactive and engage with people to get them. Use your communication skills: texts and email will not be enough to get these roles. Pick up the phone and make an appointment to see a potential host.”

Check our Sports Management Courses to learn more
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