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Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release

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The following is a press release from the AFL regarding the entry of a World 18 side in the annual NAB AFL Under 16 Championships. We have referenced other media reports on this in a recent story; apologies for not getting the full release to our readers immediately, due to staff absence.

The AFL today announced it would introduce a World XVIII team of international-born players to compete in the 2010 NAB AFL Under 16s Championships, with the aim of further developing the talent pool for the game and the medium-term aim of producing AFL-standard players.

AFL General Manager of Development David Matthews said the World XVIII, which would allow the best international youth players the opportunity to be showcased and developed at NAB AFL Under 16s Championships and would therefore incentivise international affiliates and AFL Clubs to identify talent.

The World XVIII would be comprised entirely of players born outside of Australia, who had been living outside of Australia for at least three years and had been identified as talent prospects through one of the AFL’s international affiliate programs.

Mr Matthews said the AFL’s overseas talent programs had increasingly identified young athletes who had the potential to play AFL football at the elite level, with most prospects coming from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Japan, Fiji, Tonga, Nauru and Samoa. Other talented athletes could also be identified from affiliated leagues in Canada, the USA, China and continental Europe, he said.

These players now needed to play against top-class youth opposition to further their development to discover if they could reach AFL standard.

“Historically, AFL Clubs have considered it difficult to speculate on or invest in International talent at the expense of local talent, given the limited number of positions available on their Primary and Rookie Lists, but the recent introduction of the International Scholarship List provides them with scope” Mr Matthews said.

“The predominant focus of the AFL industry will remain on domestic talent, but a targeted approach to international talent will aim to develop international players for the AFL competition and also to stimulate the development of the game in foreign markets, particularly at youth level,” he said.

Mr Matthews said the World XVIII would play matches against Division Two sides (NSW/ACT, NT, Qld and Tas) in the 2010 championships, with the players also to take part in a five-day high performance camp to hasten their development, while in Australia.

For 2010, the majority of players in the team would be expected to be drawn from the PNG, New Zealand and South Africa young player pools, with one or two representatives from the other countries who have domestic AFL competitions in place.

Players up to the age of 18 would be allowed to play, as their development would not be as advanced as Australian 16 year-olds who had grown up with the game.

“The AFL must be innovative as we strive to maintain and increase our talent pool,” Mr Matthew said.

A number of current AFL players were born outside of Australia – Daniel Kerr (India), Harry O’Brien (Brazil, Trent Croad (NZ), David Rodan (Fiji), Michael Quinn (Ireland) and Aaron Edwards (Samoa) -- with Karmichael Hunt the most recent signing to the game, born in New Zealand and with parentage from the Cook Islands.

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Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, November 02 2009 @ 08:44 pm ACDT

"The World XVIII would be comprised entirely of players born outside of Australia, who had been living outside of Australia for at least three years and had been identified as talent prospects through one of the AFL’s international affiliate programs. "

Without the last line re the 'identified' criteria, it'd be risking being filled with 'new-Australians'.......however, it does make you wonder whether there should be at Under 16 level a 'new-Australians' side anyway.

Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release
Authored by: tinka13 on Tuesday, November 03 2009 @ 10:24 pm ACDT

The Australian U16's sides will probably win all games against the World U18's, but they will know they've been tackled once the NZ, PNG and Pacific boys confront them. Skills will be down for most but the intensity will be up. I look forward to attending some games if I can?

Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, November 03 2009 @ 11:06 pm ACDT


I imagine that some of the international guys will be very talented and reasonably experienced players around 17 years old, like some PNG players. They will well and truly give the Div 2 players a run for their money.

However some players, especially from less established countries, will be kids with raw athleticism but virtually no experience in Aussie Rules. I think they will get run rings around.

So yeah, overall I suspect the World 18 won't be good enough to win games in their first year. But over time each new year should see more and more players who are both athletic and have prior experience. A great barometer for the growth of the game.

Let's hope we get some northern hemisphere kids in there too - I think we all realise there is a danger of them getting left behind for various reasons (funding, distance, perceived potential, etc).


---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Under 16 World 18 AFL Press Release
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Wednesday, November 04 2009 @ 12:24 pm ACDT

Leading into IC 2008, there were only so many 'young kids' that were kinda known. How much would LIam Ackland, John James or Scott Fleming have benefitted from this had it been in place 2 years ago.

btw - any news on Susuve or Parika at GC17??