The program draws parallels between the elite environments of both fields, and offers ways to tackle the uncertainty that many experience after either career. Image: Brooke Bowering.

POWER Community Limited’s (PCL) ADF (Australian Defence Force) Veterans program has received a significant funding boost from the State Government to help more South Australian veterans discover a new sense of purpose and community connection post-service.

PCL’s ADF Veterans Program – the only program of its kind run by an AFL club – brings former defence personnel and ex-AFL players together for a six-week program, empowering veterans to hear from past players and learn new skills as they transition into the next stage of their lives.

The program, which kicks off next month, draws parallels between the elite environments of both fields, and offers ways to tackle the uncertainty that many experience after either career.

Across the six-week block, sessions will be hosted by past and present Port Adelaide players, skilled professionals, and local organisations, with key themes including goal setting, relationships, leadership and mental health and wellbeing.

The State Governments investment of $240,000, through Veterans SA, will ensure the program can continue to support the veteran community over the next four years, including establishing an alumni network.


The Hon. Geoff Bock MP has commended PCL for their leadership in providing an innovative program to support veterans in our state.

“South Australia is leading the way with this program which provides veterans a unique way to connect with their community and helps them realise meaningful and successful lives post-service,” Mr. Brock said.

“No other AFL club is supporting veterans in this way and the Government welcomes innovative measures to equip those who have served with the tools they need to transition into civilian life.

“I commend Power Community Limited for their leadership in this space and am pleased to deliver additional support to expand the program and provide an even better experience for participants in 2024 and beyond”.

General Manager of PCL, Jake Battifuoco said the demand for the ADF Veterans program has been significant since the inception in 2021.  

“Over the last three years, we've got 133 veterans who've participated in the program. What the new funding announcement provides us is the opportunity to expand,” Mr. Battifuoco said.

“We have had a waitlist previously. It's been a high demand program. Last year's program booked out in two weeks. It shows that there's a real need in the community, and we're really excited to work with State Government and Veterans SA to be able to open it up to more veterans this year”.

This year’s intake will be open to more than 80 veterans, an increase of 30 participants, while the additional government support will enable regular events to be held throughout the year and promote long-term connections between veterans and players after the program ends.

Former participant, now program facilitator, Ash Muir who served in the Australian Air Force for 18 years says the program has changed his life.

“Transition for serving members and veterans can be really challenging. I guess what I felt myself was a loss of identity, a loss of purpose, and just not feeling like I belong in the team anymore. It's just found it quite difficult just to find my place back in civilian life.

“I was never an AFL supporter, let alone a Port of Adelaide fan. I saw the program through some veteran networks and saw it as an opportunity to just do some work within myself.

“And pretty quickly I felt very comfortable with Port Adelaide Football Club. You could see how genuine they are when it comes to supporting defence, defence families and veterans.

“It (the ADF Veterans program) was life-changing for me. I made friendships, but just helped, I guess, put me on a path to establishing a new identity.

“The way that they've (PCL) made me feel and included me into the team and the family here has been another huge aspect of my transition.

“Being involved in a club that genuinely cares about defence and veterans, it's pretty cool to be a part of, to the honest. So, I’m super thankful for the opportunities that they've given me, opportunities I didn't think I probably would have ever had.”

Applications are now open for the 2024 ADF Veterans Program and veterans are encouraged to register by emailing More information is available on the Port Adelaide Football Club’s website.