The GIANTS have today been informed of the AFL Commission’s decision to endorse the AFL Executive’s recommendation to change the boundary of the club's Academy in Southern New South Wales.
The club has made a number of submissions to the AFL Executive and Commission over the past six months. The premise of these presentations was that the GIANTS Academy was working to the AFL Commission’s own strategy and original aims of attracting young athletes to play Australian football and to provide them a development program. The club maintains that the AFL had the strategy right in relation to the Academy system and that its equalisation responsibilities were protected by the recently established draft bidding system.
The club is incredibly proud of the achievements of Jason Saddington and his team of 66 coaches spread across our Academy region. The 750 boys who participate in the GIANTS Academy have a first-class program from which to launch their football careers. Only a handful of players make it to the AFL, the rest going back to community football better for the experience. Of those who do make it to the AFL level, a substantial number make their way to AFL clubs other than the GIANTS. We are disappointed about the impact that this decision will have on affected players and their families, along with coaches and volunteers.
The Giants list currently has 32% of its players from New South Wales and the ACT. This is a significant achievement and a cornerstone of what the AFL set out to achieve via the Academy program.
At the 2016 AFL Draft ten players were selected by AFL clubs from the club's Academy region, placing it behind only Victoria and Western Australia in terms of players selected. This is an outstanding achievement.
We are disappointed but acknowledge the AFL Commission's decision and will now work with the AFL on the detail of how we continue to provide pathways for young boys and girls wanting to play Australian Football in the affected regions.