The Greater Western Sydney GIANTS have offered an international scholarship to young Danish AFL player Aksel Bang.
Bang is rated as the best AFL player in Europe and will visit Sydney to train and play with the GIANTS this year.
The 21 year-old is about to start six months of national service with the Danish Army in Afghanistan and is expected to travel to Sydney during his scheduled break in April/May.
He took up the game two years ago after visiting Australia and now plays for the Aalborg Kangaroos and Danish Vikings and was the leading player in last year's Euro Cup.
GIANTS Chief Executive David Matthews said it was a great opportunity to further develop talent from overseas. He said Bang would train with the club and also play for the UWS GIANTS in the NEAFL.
“AFL Europe has a done a lot of work building the code across the continent and we think Aksel is deserving of an opportunity to further his skills and education in the game," Matthews said.
Head Coach Kevin Sheedy said he was delighted to bring a player from Denmark to the GIANTS. The club has formed several partnerships in Europe including the South East London GIANTS, the North Leinster GIANTS (Ireland), the Zaprude GIANTS (Croatia) and the Skane GIANTS (Sweden).
“We have an obligation to invest in talented players wherever they may be around the world if we want to truly develop our game internationally,” Sheedy said.
“As someone who did national service himself, I look forward to learning more about Aksel and his experience in Afghanistan. I am sure our players will as well and he will learn a lot from spending time at an AFL club.”
General Manager of AFL Europe Ben McCormack thanked the GIANTS for giving Bang an opportunity to develop his game at an elite level in Australia.
"He has come a long way in a short space of the time in our game and no doubt in years to come there will be more players like him heading to Australia to chase their dream of becoming an AFL player," McCormack said.