1. How do I join the QBE Sydney Swans Academy?
  2. I'm playing above my age level in club competition but am not yet aged Under 10. Can I trial for the Academy?
  3. I'm older than the ages listed for the Open Assessment Trials. Is there any other way I can try out for the Academy?
  4. We live outside the Sydney Swans NSW Academy catchment zone. Can I still trial?
  5. We live outside the Sydney Swans zone but are moving next year and will then reside in the Sydney Swans zone. Can I trial now?
  6. We will be away on holidays when the trials are on. Is there another date I can trial?
  7. Why are the Youth Boys trials in the school holidays when families might be away?
  8. I have little or no experience playing junior AFL. Can I still trial?
  9. What commitment is required if I'm successful in joining the Academy?
  10. We live in a regional area of NSW. Where are your training locations and what is the training commitment to the Academy?
  11. If I'm selected for the Academy, what is the annual cost?
  12. If I'm selected for the Academy, should I remain playing with the same local junior club even if it's in a low grade or division?
  13. I'm training with the Academy, my local club and my school. How should I manage all these training sessions every week?
  14. I have a clash with a school/club/sporting/academic activity and can't make Academy training. What should I do?
  15. I'm sick and can't come to training tonight. What should I do?
  16. It's raining today. How do I know if training will be on? What is the wet weather policy?

How do I join the QBE Sydney Swans Academy?

To be eligible for selection in the QBE Sydney Swans Academy program players must reside in a New South Wales Local Government Area aligned with the Sydney Swans.

Click here to find the list of Local Government Areas aligned with the Swans.

Entry into the Academy is usually via our Open Assessment Trials, which are held once every year.

The Academy conducts Open Assessment Trials for Youth Boys who are in the Under 10, Under 11 and Under 12 age groups, that is, boys who turn 10, 11 or 12 in the year the trial is held.

If successful, boys will enter the Academy the following year when they will be turning 11, 12 or 13 years of age.

Youth Girls Open Assessment Trials are held for Under 11, Under 12, Under 13, Under 14 and Under 15 girls, that is, girls turning 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 in the year the trial is held.

If successful, girls will enter the Academy the following year when they will be turning 12, 13 14, 15 or 16.

Boys and girls who have not yet reached the minimum age – turning 10 for boys and turning 11 for girls – are not eligible to trial.

In 2021, the Open Assessment Trials for Youth Boys will take place in the week beginning August 9, after school hours. Exact dates, times and a registration link will be published here by late June.

Open Assessment Trials for Youth Girls are planned for the first week of October 2021, after school hours.

Please monitor the Sydney Swans website https://www.sydneyswans.com.au/academy for updated trial information.

Every child who wishes to trial must register and pay a fee. Places will not be limited this year, so all boys who register by the due date will be able to trial.

The trials involve testing in a range of skill and fitness activities.

Every boy and girl who tries out for the Academy will be given feedback after the trial, whether they're successful or not. 

I'm playing above my age level in club competition but am not yet aged Under 10. Can I trial for the Academy?

No, we can't permit anyone to attend our trials who does not yet meet the minimum age requirement, no matter what level they're playing in club competition.

I'm older than the ages listed for the Open Assessment Trials. Is there any other way I can try out for the Academy?

Boys older than 13 and girls older than 15 can't trial for the Academy but can be identified by our staff during AFL club football competition and other sporting events and competitions. 

The Academy tracks junior AFL players within our NSW zone, and evaluates players on the following criteria:

  • Skill level – marking, handball, kicking
  • Running ability – speed, agility, endurance
  • Decision-making – composure, game understanding
  • Competitive spirit – tackling, chase down-pressure, physicality
  • Professionalism – focus, discipline, self-motivation 

Local Academy staff and junior club coaching staff monitor players and assess how they compare to existing Academy players.

Should your performances warrant consideration, we will contact you.

We live outside the Sydney Swans NSW Academy catchment zone. Can I still trial?

You can't be accepted into our formal program as AFL rules prohibit us including players outside our designated Academy zone.

We live outside the Sydney Swans zone but are moving next year and will then reside in the Sydney Swans zone. Can I trial now?

We are happy for you to register and attend our trials.  However, you can't be accepted into our formal program until you actually reside in the Sydney Swans zone, as the AFL rules prohibit us including players outside our designated Academy area.

We will be away on holidays when the trials are on. Is there another date I can trial?

No. We only have the capacity to run trials once each year. However, we do undertake talent identification during club and school football games, and during other sporting competitions.

Why are the Youth Boys trials in the school holidays when families might be away?

We have previously conducted trials during the school term but found many boys couldn't attend on the nominated dates due to school and/or other sporting commitments.

As well, we have found it's more convenient for players from regional areas such as the Illawarra, Hunter or North Coast, to attend during holidays.

Please note we do have other identification processes in place at representative carnivals and during club football and are confident we identify the majority of Academy-level players in our zone.

I have little or no experience playing junior AFL. Can I still trial?

Yes, you can. We don't require any AFL experience. We are looking for talented athletes who have a strong interest in the sport and display attributes we consider important: discipline, focus and strong competitive spirit.

What commitment is required if I'm successful in joining the Academy?

 The Academy's Youth Boys program runs for 24 weeks over three terms, from February to September. Players train twice a week locally and are also required at certain times to attend our Sydney City location for Academy Cup games.

The Academy's Youth Girls program runs for 13 weeks over two terms, from February to June. Players train once a week at their local training hub but are also required at certain times to attend our Sydney City location for Academy Cup games.

We live in a regional area of NSW. Where are your training locations and what is the training commitment to the Academy?

If you are selected for the Academy you will be allocated to a training hub as close as possible to your location.  

Our training locations are: Sydney City, North Sydney, South Sydney, Northern Beaches, Illawarra, Central Coast, Hunter, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

You will train weekly in your local hub, but Academy players in regional areas are also asked to come to Sydney City once a month for Academy Cup games.

We are aware the travel requirements can be difficult for some families and we try to organise carpooling for regional players where possible.

If I'm selected for the Academy, what is the annual cost?

The annual cost of our Youth Boys program is $475.

The annual cost of our Youth Girls program is $250.

For both Youth Boys and Girls, the cost includes all training sessions and Academy Cup games; all training apparel including training shorts and shirt, hoodie and backpack; and a three-game membership to attend Sydney Swans games at the SCG.

If I'm selected for the Academy, should I remain playing with the same local junior club even if it's in a low grade or division? 

Yes.

This is our official Club Policy:

We strongly advise and encourage all players selected for the Academy to remain with the same junior club they currently play with.

We strongly advise and encourage all players to remain with that club regardless of their team’s win/loss record, level of coaching, or level of competition/division the team is in.

Regular Academy Cup sessions provide every Academy player with the necessary high-level competition against talented peers.

At club level, we encourage Academy members to be leaders and role models for their team. We strongly believe this benefit outweighs any advantage that may be perceived from playing in a higher division.

I'm training with the Academy, my local club and my school. How should I manage all these training sessions every week?

At the Academy we work hard to ensure that young players manage their health and are not physically overloaded.

Too many training sessions at a young age can lead to injury, and physical and mental burnout.

Each year we ask players and parents to assess their physical load and consult with us if they have concerns.

We do not believe young players should be training every day. Our coaches can help you discuss these issues with club and school coaches to ensure your training load is well planned and managed.

For example, some of our players don't do a full club or school training session, but instead help out coaches with drills and skills.

We strongly advise that players manage their physical training load so that they're in peak condition for playing Academy, club and school competitive games.

Please speak to your local coach if you have any questions about this issue.

I have a clash with a school/club/sporting/academic activity and can't make Academy training. What should I do?

We fully understand that our players are involved in numerous activities and that there will be clashes.

If you are going to miss one or two training sessions, there is no need to let us know.

If your absence will last several weeks, or will be a regular occurrence, please let your local Academy coach know and also send an email to info@academy.com.au

I'm sick and can't come to training tonight. What should I do?

Again, there is no need to let us know if you are only going to miss one or two sessions.

However, if your illness doesn't resolve quickly, please let your local coach know, or contact us at academy@sydneyswans.com.au

It's raining today. How do I know if training will be on? What is the wet weather policy?

Unfortunately, football grounds in Sydney and regional NSW can be closed by local councils if it has been raining, or if rain is forecast. These closures are completely out of our control.

Please ring (02) 9157 5020 and follow the prompts to reach the Academy's wet weather line. The information is updated by 2pm if there are ground closures.