The QBE Sydney Swans Academy and the NSW Regional Academies of Sport are to partner and host a Regional Talent Search Carnival in 2022.
In exciting news for budding Aussie Rules footballers, the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, in partnership with the NSW Regional Academies of Sport, will launch a new talent search carnival capturing some future stars from key areas of the state.
With a commitment to identifying junior talent across regional NSW, this new event to be called the ‘Academy Cup’ will aim to have the best footballers from each of the identified Sydney Swans catchment areas play against each other in what will be a showcase of regional talent event.
When asked about the carnival’s importance to the athlete pathway, Head of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, Chris Smith replied, “Sydney Swans Academy selectors will be present with the goal of identifying young athletes to join the Swans Academy. It is important to create an environment where the best players in the region get to compete against the best from other regions.”
The following Regional Academies of Sport will provide talented squads to compete:
- North Coast
- Northern Inland
- Central Coast
Originally planned to occur in late 2021, the date of the 2022 carnival is yet to be confirmed. As restrictions ease and sporting calendars become clear a date will be communicated but is expected to be in the Autumn. Each year, it is envisaged that the Sydney Swans Academy will use this event as a chance to identify possible inductees into their Swans Academy program prior to naming their main top-end squads. Competition will see both genders represented and comprise of small talent squads in the Under 14 and 16 age groups. In a lead up to the Academy Cup a AFL program will operate over the summer months to ensure squads are well prepared for the competition.
Managing Director of the Central Coast Academy of Sport, Ian Robilliard OAM said “The sole purpose of this carnival is to provide a platform for regional athletes to be identified and then hopefully developed within the talented athlete pathway provided by the Sydney Swans. We know the biggest obstacle in the progression of regional NSW athletes is opportunity to be seen, and for young footballers in our region we believe opportunities such as this talent search carnival will certainly help overcome this.”
Outside of the carnival, it is the responsibility of each of the regional academies to select its squads working with their local associations and coaches. The applications are open for the Central Coast AFL Talent Identification Program and can be found at www.thinksport.com.au/programs/AFL-2