There was big news in North Queensland today with the announcement that a new AFL satellite academy will be set up in the region to advance the progress of local talents.

Thursday 15 July 2010

The AFL is set to establish a satellite academy in North Queensland to fast-track the development of local youngsters.

It will be a joint venture between AFL Queensland and the new Gold Coast AFL club, and will establish a direct pathway for all youngsters in the greater region to the AFL’s 17th club, set to join the national competition next year.

Mark Browning, the AFL’s Talent and Academies Manager for New South Wales and Queensland, confirmed the academy during a visit to Townsville today.

He was in North Queensland with boom Gold Coast AFL signing Karmichael Hunt, Gold Coast Academy Manager Andrew Johnston and other club officials for a series of promotional activities.

Under the new project, North Queensland youngsters will be automatically zoned to the Gold Coast club under a system which will split all Queensland academy products between the Gold Coast and the Brisbane Lions.

Browning said the NQ satellite academy would have a charter to ensure that regional players had the same full and easy access to top-level coaching and training services, facilities and opportunities as players from the south-east corner.

“North Queensland is a massive target area in which the AFL has really on just scratched the surface,” said Browning, who has played a key role in the AFL’s strong development programs in Queensland since 1996.

“We’ve seen a good number of AFL players come out of the region like Jarrod Harbrow and Courtenay Dempsey in Cairns, Gavin Urquhart in Rockhampton, David Armitage in Mackay and Jake Spencer in Townsville.

“More recently, there has been Cairns pair Charlie Dixon and Rex Liddy who are part of the Gold Coast playing group in preparation for next year. And now we want to find a lot more.

“We’ll hope to attract elite athletes from other sports and provide opportunities like never before for young players throughout North Queensland.”

Browning, a former Sydney Swans AFL captain and 251-game veteran, said the NQ academy would service all players north of Bundaberg aged 12-18, with a special focus on Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton and Mackay.

He said it had not yet been determined where the academy would be based, but said the quality of training and opportunity available in each region would not vary.

The hugely successful Queensland Country Kookaburras development program will be run via the academy in what will be a unified approach to talent identification and development, he said.

The NQ satellite academy is a flow-on from AFL academies launched last October at each of the four northern AFL clubs – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney
and the West Sydney expansion franchise that will join the AFL in 2012.

The Academy programs are based on the same six core elements of the AIS/AFL Academy curriculum, covering Physical Preparation, Skill Development, Nutrition and Recovery, Personal Development, Athlete and Career Education and AFL Policy.

In each of those six core areas, the specific focus points are as follows:

• Physical Preparation – Medical Screening, Fitness Testing, Conditioning, Profiling, Prioritising, Program Assessment, Heat and Training, Resting your Body, Immunisation;

• Skill Development  – Learning Style, Kick Technique, Running Technique, Game Sense, Game Knowledge, Game Balance, Decision Making, Team Rules / Game Plan, AFL Player Profiling, Basics of Game, Competition Performance, Performance Analysis;

• Nutrition and Recovery – General Education, Food Diaries, Individualised Reviews and Food Plans, Losing / Gaining Weight, Hydration, Recovery Practices, Practical Sessions, Drugs and Alcohol;

• Personal Development – Psych Profiling, Mental Toughness, Stress Minimisation, Goal Setting, Postive Self-Image, Personal Growth, Life Skills, Public Speaking, Media Training, Etiquette, Leadership, Drugs and Alcohol, Travel;

• Athlete and Career Education – Computer Skills, Individualised Assessments, Monitoring Performance, Study Skills, Time Management, Educational Support, Welfare Issues;

• AFL Policy – ASADA – AFL Policy, Respect and Responsibility, Racial and Religious Vilification, Drafting and the AFL Pathway, AFL Illicit Drugs Policy, AFL member protection policy, AFL Player Rules and Regulations, AFL Code of Conduct, AFL National Draft Procedures, AFL Academy Policy.

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