QUEENSLANDS ACADAMIES GIVE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PLAYERS
MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The AFL today announced it would introduce AFL Club-based academies in both New South Wales and Queensland to develop young local talent. The Academies will be designed as a means of growing the national talent pool in the interests of all AFL Clubs and providing opportunities for elite players to remain in their home state under a bidding system.
AFL General Manager of Development David Matthews said the Academies would begin almost immediately and be linked to each of the four AFL clubs in NSW/Qld – the Sydney Swans, the Brisbane Lions and new expansion teams the Gold Coast Football Club and Team GWS (Greater Western Sydney).
Under the model which will revamp the AFL’s talented player pathway in the northern states, each of the four AFL clubs will partner with the AFL to identify, attract and develop players as young as 12 years of age, taking their development through to drafting age for the NAB Draft and NAB Rookie Draft.
The four partnering AFL Clubs in NSW and Queensland will be provided the opportunity to pre-list players that are developed through the Academies, under the bidding system that currently applies to all Father-Son selections in the National Draft. This will ensure that any player developed from NSW or Queensland was selected at his ‘market value’.
In New South Wales, the existing AFL scholarship scheme will be phased out over the next 12 months, to be replaced by this Academy Structure. During the phase-out period, only two Scholarship players can be listed per AFL club.
Mr Matthews said the development programs would now aim to provide the most complete general education and wider football coaching experience for hopeful stars of tomorrow in both states, and would serve to expand the wider talent pool for all clubs in the AFL competition.
Former Sydney Swans captain Mark Browning, who has managed AFL talent programs in Queensland for the past 10 years will oversee the four academies.
“This new approach to our talent development in our expansion regions has been supported by the List Management Working Group which includes representatives from eight AFL Clubs,” Mr Matthews said.
“Currently, around 11 per cent of the players on AFL lists originate from NSW/ACT and Queensland, which represent 54 per cent of Australia’s population. The competition for elite young talent in these areas is extremely intense and we require an approach that will enable us to compete effectively to attract first-choice athletes – developing their skills with education and instruction from the best – coupled with the opportunity to then play in their home states once they have been exposed to all clubs in the competition.”
“In short, we need to provide a more compelling career path for talented youngsters and capitalise on the introduction of two new AFL Clubs to accelerate the growth and development of our overall talent pool for the benefit of all AFL Clubs,” he said.
Mr Matthews said the AFL Commission had approved the new structure at its meeting in Melbourne last week (Monday October 19),
Mr Matthews said the Club Academy programs would be based on the same six core elements of the AIS/AFL Academy curriculum, covering Physical Preparation, Skill Development, Nutrition and Recovery, Personal Development, Athlete and Career Education and AFL Policy.
In each of those six core areas, the specific focus points are as follows:
· Physical Preparation – Medical Screening, Fitness Testing, Conditioning, Profiling, Prioritising, Program Assessment, Heat and Training, Resting your Body, Immunisation;
· Skill Development - Learning Style, Kick Technique, Running Technique, Game Sense, Game Knowledge, Game Balance, Decision Making, Team Rules / Game Plan, AFL Player Profiling, Basics of Game, Competition Performance, Performance Analysis;
· Nutrition and Recovery – General Education, Food Diaries, Individualised Reviews and Food Plans, Losing / Gaining Weight, Hydration, Recovery Practices, Practical Sessions, Drugs and Alcohol;
· Personal Development – Psych Profiling, Mental Toughness, Stress Minimisation, Goal Setting, Postive Self-Image, Personal Growth, Life Skills, Public Speaking, Media Training, Etiquette, Leadership, Drugs and Alcohol, Travel;
· Athlete and Career Education – Computer Skills, Individualised Assessments, Monitoring Performance, Study Skills, Time Management, Educational Support, Welfare Issues;
· AFL Policy – ASADA – AFL Policy, Respect and Responsibility, Racial and Religious Vilification, Drafting and the AFL Pathway, AFL Illicit Drugs Policy, AFL member protection policy, AFL Player Rules and Regulations, AFL Code of Conduct, AFL National Draft Procedures, AFL Academy Policy.
Mr Matthews said the List Development Group, as part of its work in developing the Draft Entry Concessions for Gold Coast FC and Team GWS, had looked closely at player development and the pathway programs for the game in the northern states.
Mr Matthews said young players coming through the Sydney Swans and Team GWS Academies would represent NSW/ACT at the NAB AFL Under 16s and Under 18s championships, while those players at the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Academies would similarly represent Queensland, enabling all clubs to assess their development.
He said Browning was the ideal choice to head the overall program across the two states.
“Mark has a very good track record in bringing first-choice athletes to the AFL game,” Mr Matthews said.
“He has been able to bring the likes of Kurt Tippett and Daniel Merrett to our game and first identified Karmichael Hunt as a potential star. At the time when Mark first saw Karmicheal, we didn’t have the kind of pathway that we can present now to a young player.”
AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said the Commission had fully endorsed the proposal from the Game Development Department.
“There are wonderful long-term career opportunities in the AFL with 640 players employed each year at an average wage of more than $220,000, and we are about to further expand with two new clubs on the Gold Coast and in greater Western Sydney,” Mr Demetriou said.
“Through our existing game development programs we have laid a solid foundation for the game to develop in this region but now we are taking the next step," he said.
Attached is the model of how the programs would apply in each state.