Victoria beckons for Gold Coast
Saturday, June 07 2008 @ 08:15 am ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The AFL has confirmed that talented Queensland teenagers will be given the chance to opt out of the next national draft, to instead sign up for the new Gold Coast franchise. The initial development squad will play in the Victorian elite Under 18 TAC Cup in 2009 and the VFL in 2010, before entering the AFL in 2011.
The AFL's General Manager of National and International Development, David Matthews, said "It is our view that the fast-tracking of the young talent who will join the Gold Coast list is best served by playing in the TAC Cup competition in 2009, with a mix of matches in Victoria and home games on the Gold Coast".
Former Brisbane Lions triple premiership player Michael Voss continues to firm as favourite to coach the side, and plans are underway to extend the Voss scholarship program to form a football academy in Queensland, with educational help provided for promising athletes.
Interesting things to ponder are - could young international talent be given opportunities at the academy, was Queensland's poor form in the second division of the Under 18 championships a true reflection of their talent, will any of the three Papuans in Queensland's under 16 squad be listed by the Gold Coast, and will we start hearing of similar plans for a western Sydney squad next year, and do Tasmania have a genuine chance of being in the mix?