AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has shown strong support for the academies in NSW and Queensland, but has no interest in having some in Victoria.
Chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan strongly supports the academies for the AFL’s developing northern states but has offered no suggestion Victorian clubs will get their own.
The debate over equalisation continues to rage with Victorian teams wanting to ensure they get a fair deal compared to the code’s less-developed states.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has led the Victorian defence, successfully campaigning against the cost of living allowances (COLA) previously given to NSW clubs, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney.
However, McLachlan stressed the academies in Queensland and NSW were vital in increasing the flow of talent in those states, which only supplied around 10 per cent of the AFL player pool.
“I think you have to look at why the academies were introduced and that’s been an under-representation of NSW and Queensland in our talent pool,” McLachlan said at the GWS base on Wednesday.
“That hasn’t been the case in Victoria. Having said that, I’ve spoken to Eddie (McGuire) and others about how we actually have our clubs more deeply engaged in Victoria.”
Asked if Collingwood would get an academy, McLachlan said “I’m not going to speculate on that. I’ve given my answer which is to focus on engagement.”
McLachlan said the AFL was poised to again look at a review of the bidding system, with that likely to occur over coming weeks.
“I support the academy system … I’ve also said we’re going to review the bidding system that will apply to the father-son,” McLachlan said.
“We need more talented athletes coming out of NSW and Queensland and the academies, I think, are starting to be successful.
“We also have to make sure that’s not at the expense of on-field equity.
“I think the appropriate way to look at that is through the review of the bidding system.”
GWS chief executive David Matthews, who worked in the national development area of the AFL for many years before joining GWS, said the fundamental issue was that NSW and Queensland supplied only a tenth of the competition’s players.
“We can’t say we’re a national game with those sort of statistics,” Matthews said.
“The overriding objective, which I know Eddie and everyone agrees with, is we’ve got to build the talent pool – it’s got to grow.
“The academies are fundamental to the future success of the game in NSW and Queensland.”
Matthews said Victoria already effectively had 12 academies in the TAC clubs.
“They are spitting out 50 to 60 per cent of the talent every year, so talent share out of Victoria isn’t the issue that we’re trying to address here,” Matthews said.
“This isn’t a Victorian issue – this is a national issue.”