WAFL 2022: Steven Armstrong continues long family tradition by coaching Perth’s WAFL seniors
Steven Armstrong will continue a proud family legacy when he takes the reins of Perth’s league side on Anzac Day eve against East Perth under lights at Mineral Resources Park.
The West Coast premiership forward turned WAFL assistant coach steps into the hot seat after regular coach Garry Moss was forced into COVID isolation earlier in the week.
Armstrong, a former club captain, will follow in the footsteps of his dad Gary and late grandfather Ken into the Demons’ coaches box.
WA football’s Hall of Fame member Ken Armstrong took Perth to their last four grand finals in the 1970s and last two flags, back-to-back in 1976-77, during a golden era and also won a premiership there as a 19-year-old in 1955.
Gary also coached the club in 1999 and 2000.
“Even if I’m a one-game coach, it means a lot to the family including my father and late grandfather, following in their footsteps,” Steven Armstrong told The West Australian.
“Even though it’s only one game and it’s come in weird circumstances, it’s a huge privilege to be able to do it.
“I don’t know if it’s been done before at senior WAFL footy, a son, father and grandfather all coaching the same team.”
The 38-year-old, who played 79 AFL games for Melbourne (43) and the Eagles (36) including a premiership with the latter in 2006, would love to be a senior coach in his own right one day but was happy to be patient.
Armstrong got some practice in during the final pre-season hit-out against South Fremantle just in case something like this happened.
He spoke highly of Moss’ influence as well as West Perth coach Darren Harris who was his senior coach at Claremont and now Swan Districts talent manager Greg Harding who he was a colts assistant to.
“I’ve been in the system for a long time now and the learnings I’ve had from guys like Darren Harris, Greg Harding and Garry Moss has been invaluable,” Armstrong said.
Other than a couple of reserves players and coach Moss, Perth are in a good space with COVID cases at this stage after copping a fair amount during the pre-season.
Forward Kristian Cary is in the mix to return from suspension while young defender Jack Avery (COVID protocols) and ex-Collingwood/West Coast speedster Josh Smith (knee) are also a chance to face the Royals.
Former Collingwood and Fremantle champion Chris Mayne will be sidelined for at least a month with a facial fracture sustained in his long-awaited WAFL last week while youngster Jye Clark is out with a hamstring injury.
“We’re very healthy at this stage other than a couple of injuries, compared to last year when we were struggling to select the side with the injuries we had so it’s a good change,” Armstrong said.
Both the Demons and Royals will be looking to go 2-0 on Sunday evening after opening-round victories over West Coast and Swan Districts respectively.
Armstrong highlighted the importance of playing on Anzac Day eve after last season’s clash was postponed due to COVID.
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