Paging @benfti, please start your hype thread ASAP.
CLUBS will be able to select overlooked indigenous and multicultural prospects at this year’s NAB AFL Draft as category B rookies as the AFL looks to fast-track its next generation academy program.
The AFL informed clubs last week it had broadened its academy rules to allow them to select players under the new system this year in a bid to “achieve the outcome of greater diversity” on lists.
Under the revised rules, clubs will be able to apply for 2016 draft-eligible players to qualify as talent concessions under the next generation academy rules.
If the AFL decides that the player meets the qualifications under the indigenous or multicultural eligibility, the club will be able to list the player as a category B rookie, but only if the player is not selected in the national or rookie drafts.
Clubs will need to send their nominations for potential category B recruits by August 15, with a full list to be circulated by the AFL by the end of August. A memo was sent to club list and recruiting managers earlier this month detailing the additional rules for this year.
The category B rookie list has previously been reserved for international recruits or players from alternative sports who have not been registered in an Australian football competition for three years.
The next generation academies, which were announced earlier this year, have seen every club (outside of the four northern clubs) allocated different regions to develop multicultural and indigenous talent.
If the talent is deemed good enough to be picked by a club in their respective draft season, they will be up for grabs under the points-based academy and father-son bidding system on draft night.
Originally the AFL had planned to fully introduce the next generation academy system for next year’s draft, with the category B option for this year’s prospects considered likely to be a ‘one-off’ in 2016.
A player has to meet several forms of approval before being ticked off as being eligible to join a club under the next generation academy rules.
As well as residing in a certain club’s region, to be eligible the player must be born or have one parent born in Asia or Africa; be of Indigenous background residing in a remote region; or have both parents born in a non-English speaking country (not Asia or Africa).
Many clubs have started building their next generation academy operations with talent days for local juniors, with most aged 11-15, where the AFL is hoping to centre its attention on up-and-coming football fans.