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AFL to hold rookie trials in South Africa

Africa

Melbourne daily newspaper The Age this weekend reported that the AFL will be holding draft camp-style tryouts in the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, coinciding with the upcoming tour to South Africa by the AIS-AFL under-17 squad.

Similar to the Western Bulldogs' trials in Fiji earlier this year, the project will be partly focussed on recruiting athletes from other sporting backgrounds for the existing AFL South Africa senior programs, as well as selecting up to four South Africans for the "Mtutuzeli Hlomela Scholarship" to attend the AFL Draft camp in Australia later this year.

The league has placed advertisements in Cape Town newspapers calling for boys between 15 and 19 with strong sports backgrounds, who stand a minimum 175 centimetres and weigh at least 70 kilograms, to attend a testing day at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa at Newlands, with follow-up testing also planned. A session near Johannesburg, featuring about 30 boys already identified, will also be held.

AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan said that having introduced the junior program FootyWild to South Africa two years ago, the league's next responsibility was to create an ongoing pathway for talented players.

The full article can be viewed here.

For a South African perspective on the trials, the article Hunt for the best Footsie player on, by Sizwe Banzi is worth a read.

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AFL to hold rookie trials in South Africa | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AFL to hold rookie trials in South Africa
Authored by: tinka13 on Monday, April 13 2009 @ 05:07 pm ACST

I think it is all well and good that the AFL are having rookie trials in SA, but these comments...........AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan said that having introduced the junior program FootyWild to South Africa two years ago, the league's next responsibility was to create an ongoing pathway for talented players.......... don't make sense or is political correctness gone mad! In PNG and New Zealand, Auskick and Kiwikick were introduced by the AFL in the late 90's/ early 2000's. These 2 countries have been crying out for the AFL to "take responsibility" ever since. Both countries have performed very well at senior level but are desparate for AFL support at junior level! QAFL have supported PNG, but as yet nothing for NZAFL.

AFL to hold rookie trials in South Africa
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, April 13 2009 @ 06:57 pm ACST

Regarding PNG, although I would've liked to see more support a few years ago, they are getting some excellent support now through AFL Queensland (which is funded by the AFL) and AFL Oceania.

So I think the question really is NZ. It's different to RSA and PNG in that the Aussie dollar can't pay for the same amount of local support staff. My general impression is that there was still a disconnect where some of the excellent work from a few years ago in NZ wasn't followed through in the way that it should've been. I'm hopeful that this is starting to turn around with the talk of an Oceania junior championship and possibly an Oceania side into the Australian junior championships.

So I agree with some of what you're saying, but if it comes down to bang for your buck, NZ will always be a different proposition to RSA and PNG. But like I've stated before, I think it's realistic to target NZ for an AFL club in say a 20 year timeframe, if the AFL really went after it. So although it's a different market to the rest of Oceania, I do think it deserves special attention.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN