AFL ‘comfortable’ with Swans, Giants academies: McLachlan


“I think the northern market academies, everyone’s comfortable with where that’s at,” McLachlan told the Herald.

“They’ve been very successful, people feel that the way they integrate into the draft now, that the solution is correct with the points system.

“There might be some (marginal) changes but I don’t forsee great changes to that.”

Pushing for round one: Sydney draftee and AFL academy product Nick Blakey.Credit:AAP

Both the Swans and Giants met on Wednesday with Andrew McKay, the former Carlton skipper who is heading the AFL’s review. It is understood neither club came away from the meetings with the  impression that the landscape was about to shift significantly.

“Our strong sense is that the AFL is supportive of the northern academies and the important contribution they make to game development and the identification of local talent, both boys and girls, in the northern states,” Swans head of football Charlie Gardiner said.

“We have made a very significant financial investment in the academy over the past nine years with some terrific outcomes for the code at both grass roots and elite levels, which we hope will be brought to light as part of the AFL’s review.”

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Giants general manager of football Wayne Campbell said: “There’s no doubt that having academies linked to the clubs is the best way to develop talent and that’s why we continue to invest a lot in the program … we believe all four of the northern academies are contributing greatly to the overall growth of the code and ensuring more talent comes out of New South Wales and Queensland.”

The Swans and the Giants have consistently defended their academies on the basis that they are not an advantage but a way to combat the go-home factor in draftees from Victoria, SA or WA – who, if they decide to stay put in Sydney, usually do so on inflated salaries.

But the academies do much more than just prime draft prospects for the AFL who might otherwise have taken up rugby league, union or soccer. The clubs also believe they have a flow-on effect on the sport’s ecosystem in NSW, with the prospects who don’t make the cut for the AFL going back and improving the level at their local clubs and competitions.



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