The Gold Coast Suns, with the assistance of the AFL, are proud to be launching the Jarrod Harbrow Leadership Academy – a culturally-appropriate talent program designed to provide a wide range of support and services to first-choice indigenous athletes from the Gold Coast region.
The Jarrod Harbrow Leadership Academy will offer talented Indigenous youth between the age of 13-16 years old ongoing mentorship from AFL Indigenous Ambassador and Gold Coast SUNS player Jarrod Harbrow, with the program to delivering on-going cultural awareness, life education and football development opportunities.
Since the club’s introduction into the AFL competition, the Gold Coast Sun has developed lasting strategies to support and grow Indigenous culture within the AFL, the Gold Coast SUNS and wider Gold Coast Community.
The academy provides a positive cultural and elite level environment where participants gain access and knowledge to the Gold Coast Indigenous community and AFLQ talent academies.
Harbrow, supported by the GC SUNS community department, have begun the talent identification process. Talent ID will also be supported by AFL Queensland and Gold Coast SUNS Academy coaches.
“Attending the Leadership Academy will be a life-changing opportunity for young Indigenous boys and girls, providing them with a safe environment to grow culturally and to develop their leadership capacity using football as the vehicle,” Harbrow said.
“As a Cairns product, I had to move to Melbourne to be drafted into the AFL, I want talented youth from Queensland to be given the best possible avenue, support and pathway into the elite system and while the Academy aims to recruit talented athletes, it’s not all about football – we want them to grow as people and receive life education, building confidence, awareness and knowledge to help them make better life choices.”
“It makes me enormously proud to have an Academy with my family’s name involved. This legacy will ensure my connection to the SUNS will continue and I couldn’t be more excited and grateful to the GC SUNS.
“I’m looking forward to working with the local indigenous businesses and community leaders, like Banaam and Luther Cora, as I’m passionate about engaging the region’s traditional people as we all work towards building strong young Indigenous leaders.
Gold Coast Suns CEO, Andrew Travis, welcomed the launch of the Jarrod Harbrow Leadership Academy.
“The GC SUNS are pleased to provide a dedicated platform to advance Indigenous excellence by enabling talented youth to access high performance facilities and resources,” Travis said.
“This innovative environment will foster leadership growth through tailored mentoring programs and ensure the Indigenous youth and the Club continue to invest in cultural maturity.”
“As a club we are committed to Indigenous communities and social cohesion, and the Jarrod Harbrow Leader Academy will become a positive change enabler that fosters the development of future Indigenous leaders.”
“Jarrod has been outstanding in the development of the Academy and the establishment of the program is a testament to his great character and commitment towards his people and this great game.”
AFL General Manager of Game and Market Development, Simon Lethlean, said the academy reflected the AFL’s commitment to growing indigenous talent in Queensland.
“The AFL is committed to driving Indigenous excellence through existing and new programs and that’s why we are pleased to be supporting the Jarrod Harbrow Leadership Academy, not only because Jarrod is a great footballer but also because he’s a great role model within both the Indigenous and wider football communities.
“The Academy will help foster the next generation of Indigenous talent in Queensland and we believe this to be a great opportunity for the game to help break down barriers and provide an environment to develop players both on and off the field.
“We look forward to this being a legacy that Jarrod continues to drive after his footballing career at the Gold Coast SUNS,” Mr Lethlean said.
Harbrow is the club’s all-time leader in games played for the GC SUNS, with 93 senior appearances in the red, gold and blue.