Changes to Albury/Murray Academies

Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media.


On Monday, the AFL Commission advised AFL NSW/ACT and the GWS Giants of their decision to amend the GWS GIANTS’ access to players in the Albury/Murray region, also putting in place a cap on the amount of elite players that the GIANTS can access from the region in the coming years.

The AFL published the following Media Release on Monday night:

The AFL Commission has endorsed a recommendation from the AFL Executive at its meeting in Melbourne last week to amend the GWS Giants’ Club Academy’s access to players in the Albury/Murray region.

The Commission also accepted a recommendation to limit the number of elite level players accessible to a Club from its zone in any particular year, placing a cap on the amount of benefit a Club can derive from Academy-developed players.

The changes were endorsed to address the issue of an Academy becoming stronger over time and the impact this may have on equalisation, particularly in cases where a zone may be producing multiple “top end” players in any one year.

These changes are effective immediately. The Albury/Murray region will remain allocated to the Giants but transition to a Next Generation Academy (NGA) Zone.

The amendment will see the Giants have priority access to indigenous and multicultural players who are eligible under the NGA framework and target their development programs at 11-15 year-old boys and girls in the Albury / Murray region.

The Albury / Murray region covers Albury and NSW towns along the Murray River to the South Australian border.

In regard to draft access to players at the NAB AFL Draft, the Commission accepted a recommendation that:

  • For a team in the top four – limit of one player may be matched from a bid in the top 20 selections under the bidding system, with no limit thereafter;
  • For a team finishing 5-8 – limit of two players matched from a bid in the top 20 selections, with no limit thereafter;
  • For a team outside the top eight – no limit.

The AFL said the amendment was recommended following a review of the Giants’ Club Academy zones, and the wider rules regarding player access from Club Academies.

AFL NSW/ACT CEO, Sam Graham said, “We are really proud of our Talent team who have collaborated with the Sydney Swans and the GWS GIANTS to build strong and successful Academy programs, and for delivering record results in the National Draft in recent years.

“In essence, the strength of the talent coming from our region has led to the AFL making this decision, to maintain competitive balance in the AFL competition.

“AFL NSW/ACT will continue to work closely with the GWS GIANTS to continue to provide pathways for young boys and girls wanting to play Australian Football in this region.”