Carbo's Classic Hits

I'm an aspiring sports journalist and am currently studying Professional Writing & Editing at RMIT with a view to completing a journalism degree. Sport plays a big part in my life and I don't think you will ever be able to take sport away from me no matter what I am doing or where I am in the world.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Looking outside the square, I'd like to see that

These days, if you are an athlete it seems as it you have a greater chance at being drafted by an AFL club then if you are a talented footballer.

It's unfortunate that these days, clubs are placing more emphasis on those who athletes rather than footballers be drafted and whilst some involved in recruiting have suggested it's part of our modern game, football skills will always be important.

Footballing ability was always what potentital recruits were measured on, although now it seems like it has taken a back seat to athletic ability and now we are seeing some players drafted with potential,but are struggling to adjust to football after coming from a different sporting background.

There is also too much of an emphasis on players who play in the elite TAC Cup competition and the National Under 18 Championships each year.

What recruiters struggle to see is that there is a lot of talent playing elsewhere in the local or country football, although this is changing and St Kilda drafted James Gwilt directly from local football at the 2004 National Draft.

One particular concept that recruiters seem to struggle with is that not all players are ready for AFL football when they are 17 or 18 and such players are often ignored unless they chose to give themselves another chance at being drafted or rookie listed by playing in the VFL, SANFL or the WAFL.

An example of playing taking longer to develop and establishing a carrer at the elite level is Western Bulldogs star Dale Morris. Morris was initially denied a place on the Calder Cannons, but took steps to prove the Cannons officials wrong and he did.

He spent several years at VFL club Werribee, starting in the reserves before establishing himself as a regular senior player and his performances caught the eye of sveral clubs, including the Western Bulldogs.

He was subsequently rookie listed and was promoted to senior list early in 2005, keeping Adelaide superstar Andrew McLeod to single figure possesions in his debut game at Telstra Dome.

His first year in the AFL was capped off with selection in the Australian team for the international series against Ireland, where impressed with his ability to quickly to adpt to using the round ball.

Dale is an example of what happens when those who are initially denied a chance to make it as an AFL footballer work hard and remain focused on being drafted or rookie listed by a club, which he did.

All of these achievements are not bad for a boy who played all of his junior football at EDFL club Doutta Stars and spent a lot of time training with Simon Minton Connell, who was a mature aged recruit himself.

It's about time those involved in recruiting at the AFL clubs took a long hard look at themselves when it comes to what the look for when studying a potential recruit.


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