Sydney Swans Academy

Academies, friend or foe


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Number37

Anyhow, have a Winfield 25.
Oct 5, 2013
17,246
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800 + academites from ages 10-19 in the program each year.
80+ coaches
Swans Foundation pumping >$2m/ year into the program.

Swans listed academy graduates Blakey, Mills, Heeney, Wicks, Bell, Campbell, Gulden.

Sydney is the largest junior sports talent catchment area in the country.
Why wouldn't the AFL support the academy and encourage kids from other sports to try their hand at Aussie Rules?

Why is there so much angst about the academies from "traditional" AFL supporters?
How are the academies anything but a good thing?
 

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Number37

Anyhow, have a Winfield 25.
Oct 5, 2013
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This thread is not going to end well.

We want to keep the Academy in the shadows, not highlight it on the main board.
It is going to be hard to keep it in the shadows when we get a top 5 pick every year regardless of where we finish.
It is a legitimate discussion to have because the academy will only get more and more successful at developing top end AFL talent.
 

RUNVS

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Feb 28, 2007
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It is going to be hard to keep it in the shadows when we get a top 5 pick every year regardless of where we finish.
It is a legitimate discussion to have because the academy will only get more and more successful at developing top end AFL talent.
Hardly every year. We got Mills in the 2015 draft and did not get Campbell until the 2020 draft.
 

master bate

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 13, 2006
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Not sure why I'm bothering but here goes for the short version:

Of course investing in junior development in Sydney is a fantastic idea. The issue is any zone system is totally unfair and against the point of the draft.

So far the Swans have got:

Blakey - would've gone father son
Mills - grandpa was a state level footballer in WA
Gulden - grandpa and mum love the game, older brother and sister both play locally

Heeney has a strong league background and I do believe the reports that without the academy he would've been playing rugby league.

Otherwise it's not like there hasn't been great players come out of Sydney before - Lenny Hayes, Jack, the McVeigh's.

If it was branded the AFL Academy and all players weren't tied to the Swans OR if it was the Swans academy but top 40 picks were in the open draft would the talent coming through be any different?
 

Number37

Anyhow, have a Winfield 25.
Oct 5, 2013
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Hardly every year. We got Mills in the 2015 draft and did not get Campbell until the 2020 draft.
Going forward we will essentially be getting the pick of the academy crop, which IMO, will eventually be a string of top 5 picks.
There is that much talent coming through that it is starting to spill into the other state leagues. A good thing.
 

Number37

Anyhow, have a Winfield 25.
Oct 5, 2013
17,246
17,386
AFL Club
Sydney
Not sure why I'm bothering but here goes for the short version:

Of course investing in junior development in Sydney is a fantastic idea. The issue is any zone system is totally unfair and against the point of the draft.

So far the Swans have got:

Blakey - would've gone father son
Mills - grandpa was a state level footballer in WA
Gulden - grandpa and mum love the game, older brother and sister both play locally

Heeney has a strong league background and I do believe the reports that without the academy he would've been playing rugby league.

Otherwise it's not like there hasn't been great players come out of Sydney before - Lenny Hayes, Jack, the McVeigh's.

If it was branded the AFL Academy and all players weren't tied to the Swans OR if it was the Swans academy but top 40 picks were in the open draft would the talent coming through be any different?
You're conflating the academy with the zone/draft system.
The 2 are separate.

Surely you don't want to burn the academies just to burn the zone system?
Everyone should be supporting the academies and directing whatever anger they have at the zone system.
 

Malifice

Moderator
Oct 2, 2007
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Why is there so much angst about the academies from "traditional" AFL supporters?
It is going to be hard to keep it in the shadows when we get a top 5 pick every year regardless of where we finish.
Read those two sentences and you get to answer your own question.
 

The 747

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 19, 2008
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800 + academites from ages 10-19 in the program each year.
80+ coaches
Swans Foundation pumping >$2m/ year into the program.

Swans listed academy graduates Blakey, Mills, Heeney, Wicks, Bell, Campbell, Gulden.

Sydney is the largest junior sports talent catchment area in the country.
Why wouldn't the AFL support the academy and encourage kids from other sports to try their hand at Aussie Rules?

Why is there so much angst about the academies from "traditional" AFL supporters?
How are the academies anything but a good thing?
I don't have an issue with it as a concept, I think the discount on academy players in the draft is too generous. Goes for all clubs not just Sydney.
 

Bonz

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Sep 14, 2007
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I don't have an issue with it as a concept, I think the discount on academy players in the draft is too generous. Goes for all clubs not just Sydney.
Agree with this statement above.

Think the concept is perfect, especially with the majority of draftees coming from traditional football states. Allows for NSW and QLD clubs to bypass a bit of the go home factor.

But I don't think there should be a discount on players that are father/ son or academy selections. Not should trading a first round selection for multiple late second round and third round picks be an fair method for racking up points.
 

Demonic Ascent

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Feb 21, 2006
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Northern academies are a good idea. Should be AFL run and players go into an open draft.

The academies the rest of the clubs have are ridiculous, just a bone thrown to them so they stop complaining about the northern academies. As an example Reef McInnes, why is he any different to any other kid growing up in Victoria playing footy?
 

Eshay187

Premiership Player
Apr 26, 2012
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Not sure why I'm bothering but here goes for the short version:

Of course investing in junior development in Sydney is a fantastic idea. The issue is any zone system is totally unfair and against the point of the draft.

So far the Swans have got:

Blakey - would've gone father son
Mills - grandpa was a state level footballer in WA
Gulden - grandpa and mum love the game, older brother and sister both play locally

Heeney has a strong league background and I do believe the reports that without the academy he would've been playing rugby league.

Otherwise it's not like there hasn't been great players come out of Sydney before - Lenny Hayes, Jack, the McVeigh's.

If it was branded the AFL Academy and all players weren't tied to the Swans OR if it was the Swans academy but top 40 picks were in the open draft would the talent coming through be any different?
Gulden’s Dad said he would be playing soccer if not for the l’academy. On SEN.

What a waste of a beautiful young boy that would have been.

Just let the swans have some fun for once FFS. You’ve taken our COLA, you’ve taken our trades, you’ve taken our 2016 flag (cheating VFL umpires). Our pockets are empty but for the academy and incredible culture. Please, we have no more to give
 

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LoungeLizard

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Sep 15, 2009
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Gulden’s Dad said he would be playing soccer if not for the l’academy. On SEN.

What a waste of a beautiful young boy that would have been.

Just let the swans have some fun for once FFS. You’ve taken our COLA, you’ve taken our trades, you’ve taken our 2016 flag (cheating VFL umpires). Our pockets are empty but for the academy and incredible culture. Please, we have no more to give
Wow, this is a melt and a half.

Would you like if we banned you from all drafts, can you live with just NSW kids?

You were banned because the AFL deemed you cheated, just like you are accusing the umpires of doing.
 

master bate

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 13, 2006
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You're conflating the academy with the zone/draft system.
The 2 are separate.

Surely you don't want to burn the academies just to burn the zone system?
Everyone should be supporting the academies and directing whatever anger they have at the zone system.
No, I'm not. The Sydney academy (and GWS, Bris, GC) are zoned based systems that give priority access to players from a particular zone. In the case of the Swans it's half of NSW.

Any kind of zoned based system won't ever be fair and is impossible to try to balance out. There's no way to make any kind of bidding system fair yet alone control the talent that comes through each academy.

It's nice to promote footy in NSW and QLD. But what does that do for the average fan of any other side - nothing. There's literally no benefit to me if kids play footy in NSW and QLD. They've had 150 years to get their heads around it and haven't been interested.

The AFL like to sell expansion as a noble cause. It's BS. It's a way to grow the TV rights and make themselves more money.
 

theiaofseed

Club Legend
Jun 17, 2019
1,129
2,126
AFL Club
Hawthorn
800 + academites from ages 10-19 in the program each year.
80+ coaches
Swans Foundation pumping >$2m/ year into the program.

Swans listed academy graduates Blakey, Mills, Heeney, Wicks, Bell, Campbell, Gulden.

Sydney is the largest junior sports talent catchment area in the country.
Why wouldn't the AFL support the academy and encourage kids from other sports to try their hand at Aussie Rules?

Why is there so much angst about the academies from "traditional" AFL supporters?
How are the academies anything but a good thing?
Cool, so tell me why the AFL can't fund and run such a program without a "club" benefiting from it. If the desire affect is too attract and keep young talent in the AFL system surely it doesnt need to be linked to a club.

But let's continue to pretend it isn't about keeping non footy state clubs consistently competitive :thumbsu:
 

master bate

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 13, 2006
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Gulden’s Dad said he would be playing soccer if not for the l’academy. On SEN.

What a waste of a beautiful young boy that would have been.

Just let the swans have some fun for once FFS. You’ve taken our COLA, you’ve taken our trades, you’ve taken our 2016 flag (cheating VFL umpires). Our pockets are empty but for the academy and incredible culture. Please, we have no more to give
The swans own website ran a piece that heavily contradicted that opinion. Kind of owned themselves there.

 

Eshay187

Premiership Player
Apr 26, 2012
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Cool, so tell me why the AFL can't fund and run such a program without a "club" benefiting from it. If the desire affect is too attract and keep young talent in the AFL system surely it doesnt need to be linked to a club.
They tried that for 20 years and it was dogshit.

The fact that a club is incentivised to make it work for their own benefit is what makes it successful.
 

Eshay187

Premiership Player
Apr 26, 2012
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The swans own website ran a piece that heavily contradicted that opinion. Kind of owned themselves there.

God damn it, I’m not renewing if my money is going to a PR department that is this incompetent!
 

theiaofseed

Club Legend
Jun 17, 2019
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They tried that for 20 years and it was dogshit.

The fact that a club is incentivised to make it work for their own benefit is what makes it successful.
Losing players to other codes wasn't a major concern if the AFL was only half arsing it, why not allow any club to open a sydney academy if it's about attracting talent? Oh wait it's that thing I mentioned right.
 

nick1408

Club Legend
Dec 12, 2010
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I like the academy but I think that all clubs should be entitled to develop kids. Dermott Brereton raised the issue on SEN today (https://www.sen.com.au/programs/dwaynes-world/) when he called in specifically to address the issue. While the Next Generation Academies and the Swans Academy are different beasts they do cross similar paths.

I don't think the academy is the issue per se, it's the lack of access other clubs get. I don't have the answer either. Possibly academy kids cannot be matched until later picks in the draft would work but I have no idea. It depends on what the aim is - develop absolute elite players or get more players (read: "later draft picks/role players"). My feeling is the AFL wants the latter while Sydney wants the former.
 

Hawk_francais

Premiership Player
Sep 20, 2015
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Northern academies, NGA, F/S it’s just a big load of bs when it comes round to the draft. Once kids are mature enough to nominate for the draft, they need to be willing to go to any of the 18 clubs. That won’t be a disincentive for kids to join academies.

If we go on like this, there will come a year where the premier gets the number 1 draft pick.
 

Kwality

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It is going to be hard to keep it in the shadows when we get a top 5 pick every year regardless of where we finish.
It is a legitimate discussion to have because the academy will only get more and more successful at developing top end AFL talent.
Its not unusual that the more you put into an academy, the more you get out of it. You guys kicked the academy off supported by your major sponsor & picked up more of the diamonds that the Melbourne clubs used get, e.g Lenny Hayes - of course it was only time before the usual suspects squealed, the AFL opened its purse & the usual suspects were the beneficiaries of lines on the map, with next to no input.

IF we want to grow our game the developing States must continue to promote their academies - for the heartland States (including Vic, WA, & SA) they are already the beneficiary of well developed junior pathways & reap the benefits not available in NSW & Q. See how swiftly the well developed footy Riverina was stripped from GWS.

More power to the Swans, lets hope GWS, the Lions & Suns are able to also reap the benefit of their hard work.
 

BloodySwan

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 2, 2016
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Remove the discount for father-son & academy picks. Maybe increase the points.

Academy's are working. People claiming the AFL should run an academy program in Sydney have no clue what they're talking about. Takes 2 seconds to check and see this isn't the AFLs first attempt at growing talent in the state, but this is the first successful job in doing so
 

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