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Ball dons the sash

Luke Ball has joined Essendon Football Club
Luke Ball says he is excited to join the Bombers this season

Former St Kilda captain Luke Ball has admitted he was surprised to be offered the newly created role of people performance manager at Essendon.

The Bombers confirmed on Tuesday that Ball had been appointed to the job, and would begin his new role next Monday.

The former Saint and Magpie said he was approached by Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell just before Christmas, with the concept gaining momentum following the appointment of new football manager Dan Richardson. 

"It did come out of the blue," Ball told SEN radio.

"I've enjoyed two and a half, three years of really good learning under some great people at the AFL … but I probably always imagined I'd end up back at a club.

"Speaking with [AFL football boss] Steve Hocking in particular, and a few people at the AFL, they thought it was a really good opportunity to join a club."

Ball will work closely with football manager Dan Richardson and coach John Worsfold in maximising the relationships between coaches and players and enhancing players' and coaches' individual leadership skills. 

"That's certainly part of what appeals to me about the job," he said.

"They've got young players coming through and by all reports they're great people, hungry to succeed. Hopefully I can play a part in [developing their leadership].

"It's about creating an environment where players, coaches and staff alike are able to thrive and maximise their potential. That'll be part of the challenge, but I'm certainly going to learn as well.

"I don't see myself as walking in the door, with all of the answers that's going to take them from eighth up the ladder."

Richardson said the acquisition of Ball, who had also been in the running for the football boss role, would be a valuable one as the Bombers look to develop the club's culture. 

"We are really excited to have Luke join the club in this important role," Richardson said. 

"Luke is highly respected and brings over 15 years of AFL industry experience to the club. His extensive knowledge of football both as a player and in many areas throughout the AFL make his appointment a significant result for the club."

Ball will report directly to Richardson and GM of people and culture Lisa Lawry and joins the Bombers from the AFL where he worked in umpiring, match review and football operations.

His latest role saw him as football projects manager at League headquarters. 

Ball enjoyed a decorated AFL career, playing 223 games with St Kilda and Collingwood.