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PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp

Oceania

Two PNG juniors recently attended Australia’s Elite AIS/AFL academy camp. The players Stanis Susuve and John James have played the past year in the Queensland local competitions and were the only international players selected for attendance. As many of our readers would know, AFLPNG has a programme that sees their elite athletes competing at state level in Queensland providing a talented player pathway which is clear and logical.

Selection for this academy is from the AFL National Under 16 Championships with the best 30 players under the age of 16 selected Australian-wide. There is a fair chance that the majority of these players will be drafted in the next two years.

James was outstanding for Coolangatta in 2007 and a strong contributor to the Brisbane Lions Reserves team. This resulted in his selection for the League’s team of the year. Susuve, a QLD Under 16 player in 2006, has developed significantly whilst playing for the Zillmere Eagles in the State League. He finished off as their MVP in their run to win the Reserve Grade premiership where he averaged five goals in each of the finals games.

Both will be eligible for Queensland Under 18s in 2008 and will be at the Zillmere Eagles and also working for the AFL in development. AFLPNG CEO Andrew Cadzow was particularly enthused by the boys’ results as it set an excellent example for PNG boys and girls to follow. “Both boys are very close to the next level. Continued hard work and fixing up some poor habits will help over the next 12 months. More importantly we are now seeing hundreds of players who are of these boys’ standard working their way through the AFLPNG Talented Player Pathway,” Cadzow said.

Though possibly slightly overage for the group the opportunity these boys have been rewarded with is a great indicator to the youth players world wide that the AFL is interested in them and not just converting the Irish lads from gaelic. Susuve and James will spend seven days under the guidance of the Academy team headed by Alan McConnell and assisted by many coaches including Lions Legend Michael Voss.

Importantly for the future of the International Game and player development, PNG have a memorandum of understanding with the AFL. The basis of this is that as long as the players are AFLPNG placements in QLD they remain PNG players, notwithstanding scholarship time in Australia. This means they are eligible to be selected as international rookies on AFL lists.

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PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, December 12 2007 @ 10:29 pm ACDT

I'm not sure of their exact ages, but I'd hope Susuve is still a chance to attract AFL attention in the next couple of years.

It's players like that who, if available, make me think PNG will break through to win the IC for the first time, after 2 runners-ups.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp
Authored by: Sean Finlayson on Thursday, December 13 2007 @ 08:26 am ACDT
I agree with you Brett.

It would not only be great for PNG is one of these players is drafted, but also for Queensland, especially if the pathway ends up at the Lions (at the very least as a rookie). Queensland has very close ties to PNG, and I played junior footy with a couple of papuans in Brisbane (though they were raised in Australia). More Queenslanders would support the growth of footy there if they knew it was being played there.

Ditto an International Cup win. Hope the eligibility rules take their time in Australia into account.

PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp
Authored by: Rod Shaw on Thursday, December 13 2007 @ 03:29 pm ACDT

Eligibility won't be a concern Sean. It was/is on where you lived the majority of your life between 10-16. If however it was an issue, how would leaving out players in such a situation be of benefit to the players, the country and the profile of the IC?
I'm sure all other countries would give their eye teeth to have players on such a pathway.
The Kiwis who come to play in Aussie (except a few who went to the ACTAFL earlier this decade) almost always come over after school or at a later age. There are reasons for this obviously when you compare developed nations and the choices in education, career and recreation compared to the opportunity to come out of a developing country to follow such a pathway.

PNG Juniors at AFL/AIS Draft Camp
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, January 28 2008 @ 11:11 pm ACDT

I belatedly stumbled across this old thread from July '07 on a supporters forum for the Brisbane Lions, who run a reserves side in the AFL Queensland, as the Suncoast Lions. My understanding is that they can also source players from other teams as "top up players" and this is how some of the PNG lads have had their chance. Repeats some of what Rod has reported in the main story, but also some extra comments.

http://viclionsupporters.forumcircle.com/viewtopic.php?p=1167&

In particular it was pleasing to see former Brisbane player, Justin Leppitsch, quoted as saying the PNG players did well. Here's some of the thread:

“We had to give the young kids some responsibility because of who we had lost,” Leppitsch said. “We rotated some of them through the middle and they did really well.

“The PNG kids in particular were very good and the pressure they applied was excellent.”

Susave, who made his AFLQ debut with Zillmere earlier this year but has been in the reserves for several weeks, kicked two early goals as one of the Lions’ top up players.

Ali Pinda was lively in the midfield, and the one-touch skills of John James left his opponents breathless with three quality second half goals.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN