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LANDMARK | 1 July 2010

AFL recruiters to eye off nation’s best country players


A renewed interest in country talent, the desire to find the next star mature aged recruit and the need for 100 more AFL players is ensuring recruiters hone in on this year’s Landmark Australian National Country Championships.


And according to Australian Country Football Council President, Glenn Scott, this means the top country players from across the nation will have a better chance than ever to push for their AFL dream.


“In past quite a number of AFL clubs have sent someone from recruiting but all that will dramatically change this year due to the new Gold Coast and GWS franchises,” said Mr Scott.


“One hundred new footballers will be required within the system and statistics show that fifty percent of players come from country Australia.


“The recruiting landscape has changed a lot in the last twelve months. There’s a growing interest in mature aged recruits with the success of Podsiadly and, with players like Michael Barlow having done so well, AFL clubs have realised the talent is out there,” said Mr Scott.


The last national championships in 2008 provided the spring board for two young country players into the ranks of the AFL with Jamie Bennell securing a place at Melbourne and Relton Roberts picked up by Richmond. According to Jamie Bennell the carnival provided him with the exposure he needed to take his football to the next level.


“Playing in the championships was a fantastic experience for me,” said Mr Bennell.


“I think as a country player, it’s great to be able to represent your state and compete on a national stage.


“I had a really good carnival in 2008 and was lucky enough to be selected as All Australian and I know the exposure I got definitely helped my chances in the national draft.

“It’s a really good standard of football and I’m sure there will be players at this year’s carnival that, given the opportunity to show off their talents, will stand out and have the chance to play AFL,” said Mr Bennell.


According to Recruiting Manager for the West Coast Eagles, Trevor Woodhouse, AFL clubs will definitely have an eye on this year’s championships.


“The vast majority of clubs will have someone in Canberra for at least some period of the carnival,” said Mr Woodhouse.

“We have a guy who works for us full time out of Melbourne and he’ll be there. What we try to do is short cut the system by speaking to the head honchos in each state and finding out their best players. We can then go to the national country championships with a short list and know who we want to look at,” said Mr Woodhouse.


Glenn Scott says the change in the way players are being discovered is definitely a bonus for country players who may in the past have felt they missed the boat if they weren’t playing in state based leagues.


“It wasn’t that long ago that if you came from Victoria and didn’t play TAC Cup you had no chance of making it to AFL level but today that’s just not true” said Mr Scott.


For players in Western Australia and South Australia it’s a similar story and Trevor Woodhouse says that while most top country players are enticed to play WAFL or SANFL, not all want to take that route.


“The better country players in WA and SA are definitely identified but it doesn’t always happen that clubs can get their players to move into the WAFL of the SANFL,” said Mr Woodhouse.


“They can earn good money in the country and they may not want to come to the city to live,” said Mr Woodhouse.


The Landmark Australian Country Championships are being held in
Canberra from 22nd to 25th July.


For more information contact:


Glenn Scott

 

President – ACFC

(03) 8663 3060 or 0438 230 330


Cameron Knapton

General Manager

West Australian Country Football League

(08) 9287 5532

0419 198 802

cknapton@wafc.com.au



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