You're spot on about the Northern Knights lack of success & this can be put down to the lack of depth on their list for a number of years. This is not to say they don't produce some top end players (Kreuzer & Cotchin for starters), but I really think they are up against it when compared to some of the other Melbourne-based NAB League clubs. Part of the problem being the private schools in the Northern Suburbs not necessarily having the quality footy programs that some of their counterparts in the Eastern Suburbs have.Our zone is currently going through a population boom with new estates popping up all over the place and a massive increase in density in the closer suburbs. All of this will take a long time to filter through to the Knights. The Knights haven't won a flag in over 25 years and recently have been poor, which is not helping our chances.
I get your point about indigenous kids more likely to take up AFL, our zone has a very large population, at a guess in excess of 500,000 and the eligibility of the academies is quite broad. Im Australian born a bred, my wife moved here when she was 6, my son is now aligned with the Blues purely because her background isn't English.
Hopefully we are putting a lot of work in to the NGA and i think it will pay us back eventually.
Certainly there is significant population growth occurring in the outer Northern Suburbs, but again the quality of some of the footy clubs based around these suburbs is not great. The likes of South Morang, Mernda, Laurimar (Laurimar did make the 3rd Div GF this year under Justin Sherman's tugelage) are playing in the lower divisions of the Northern Football League, a competition which is nowhere near as strong as some of its suburban counterparts.
It was quite revealing that in the recently referenced list of NGA players there was only the 2 eligible players linked to our club i.e. Sunny Brazier & Cam Wild while some of the other AFL clubs had several eligible players. At the moment this is not of great concern, but if this was still the case in another 5 years time there would have to be question marks over the depth within our zone & whether our club is doing as much in our zone as other clubs are doing in their zone.
On a side note, when the NGA zones were first announced, I was quite annoyed that Essendope were given part of the NT & disappointed that we were given the Northern Suburbs having witnessed the change in demographic of the Northern Suburbs from when I grew up there through the '60s, '70s & '80s.