AIS/AFL Academy Two Tier Approach

The AFL today announced it would expand its commitment to the elite talent pathway of the AIS/AFL Academy, with the introduction of a two-tier model for its 15th intake of young players, beginning in September, 2011.  

AFL General Manager - National & International Development David Matthews said that the two-tier structure is designed to deepen the talent pool for the game and better prepare players prior to their entry the AFL competition.

"Our pathway is underpinned by a philosophy of 'developing better people & better players' and this change reflects our commitment to give talented young players from anywhere in Australia an elite opportunity to develop to their potential," Mr. Matthews said. 

The two-tiers of the AIS/AFL Academy will work as follows:

• 30 players chosen from the 2011 NAB AFL Under 16s championships to be placed in the Level One program.

• 30 players, who are turning 17 through the 2011 year and are therefore eligible for the 2012 NAB AFL Draft, to be placed in the Level Two program. The Level Two program will be headed up by current AIS/ AFL Academy Head Coach Michael O’Loughlin, with a charter to prepare these players for the step into senior AFL football.

“The AFL's partnership with the AIS is very successful.  Since the AIS/AFL Academy program was introduced in 1997 with a first intake that included the likes of Cameron Ling, Mark McVeigh, Brady Rawlings and Andrew Embley, this program has now assisted the development of nearly one quarter of all players currently on an AFL list,” Mr Matthews said.

“This new structure will give the top-age players in the second tier a very specific program aimed at giving them a thorough understanding of the demands and requirements to become an AFL player, with the hope of preparing for an AFL career in 2013.

“The squad at the introductory level will be exposed to the preparation required in both the physical and skill development required for elite sport, as well as a range of programs to assist their development as individuals,” he said.

2011 NAB AFL Rising Star nominees West Coast’s Jack Darling and Andrew Gaff, Melbourne’s Jordan Gysberts, Geelong's Mitch Duncan and Gold Coast’s David Swallow were all graduates of the AIS-AFL Academy in recent years.

All inductees will attend their first camp in Melbourne during the 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final week, with the second camp to be held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in late November.

Acting AIS Director Phil Borgeaud said the AIS, in partnership with the AFL would continue to help strengthen Australian Football through the development of talented young athletes. 

“We are extremely proud of our record and tradition of producing talented AFL players who have gone on to excel at the elite level of the game and are confident this will continue in the future.    

“The Australian Government is committed to increasing participation in the AFL at the grassroots level, providing almost $1 million in participation funding annually,” Mr Borgeaud said.  

In total 45% of the Academy squad players are from Victoria.

The 2011 AIS-AFL Academy Squads (from Victoria) are as follows:

The Level One Squad is:

Jack Billings (Kew Comets / Oakleigh Chargers, Vic Metro)
Nicholas Bourke (Kolora / Noorat / Geelong, Vic Country)
Cameron Conlon (St Marys FC / Northern Knights, Vic Metro)
Jason Cooke (Sunbury Lions JFC / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro)
Darcy Gardiner (St Joseph’s / Geelong Falcons, Vic Country)
Billy Hartung (Red Hill / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country)
Jarman Impey (Shepparton Bears / Murray Bushrangers, Vic Country)
Joshua Kelly (East Brighton JFC / Sandringham Dragons, Vic Metro)
Ben Lennon (Macleod FC / Northern Knights, Vic Metro)
Clayton McCartney (Cranbourne / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country)
Luke McDonald (Kew Comets JFC / Oakleigh Chargers, Vic Metro)
James Tsitas (Grovedale / Geelong Falcons, Vic Country)
Dallas Willsmore (Walpeup Underbool / North Ballarat Rebels, Vic Country)

The Level Two squad is:

Aiden Corr (Northern Knights, Vic Metro)
Brad Crouch (Beaufort FC / North Ballarat Rebels, Vic Country)
Joe Daniher (Calder Cannons, Vic Metro)
Matthew Haynes (Carey Baptist / Northern Knights, Vic Metro)
Liam McBean (Calder Cannons, Vic Metro)
Jonathan O’Rourke (Calder Cannons, Vic Metro)
Lachlan Plowman (Macedon / Calder Cannons, Vic Metro)
Jason Pongracic (Koo Wee Rup FC / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country)
Tanner Smith (North Ballarat Rebels, Vic Country)
James Stewart (Sandringham Dragons, Vic Metro)
Jake Stringer (Echuca FC / Bendigo Pioneers, Vic Country)
Jack Viney (Carey Baptist / Oakleigh Chargers, Vic Metro)
Nick Vlastuin (Eltham / Northern Knights, Vic Metro)
Lachie Whitfield (Mornington FC / Dandenong Stingrays, Vic Country)

The AIS-AFL Academy is a key component of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which provides recognition and a clearly identifiable direction for a player's career, and comprises the following elements:
· NAB AFL Rising Star
· NAB AFL Draft
· NAB AFL Draft Combines
· NAB AFL Under 18 Championships
· AIS-AFL Academy
· NAB AFL Under 16 Championships


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