Sixty coaching staff, 600 boys, eight activities, three full-on days.
They were the raw numbers at the QBE Sydney Swans Academy’s 2019 Open Assessment Trials, held this week at the Lakeside Oval opposite the SCG.
The Academy’s general manager, Chris Smith, says the open trials for Under 10, Under 11 and Under 12 boys are the largest junior talent identification program in Australia.
“We were excited and humbled by the number of boys who signed up to attend our trials this year,’’ said Smith, who has been with the Academy since it was established in 2010.
“The effort, attitude and overall skill level was very high and there were a lot of fantastic young athletes running around which was great to see.’’
The Under 10s trials were held on Monday July 15, followed by the 11s on Tuesday and the 12s on Wednesday.
Swans 2005 premiership heroes, Jared Crouch - now head coach of the Academy - and Nick Davis, were on hand to assess the boys as they went through a series of eight activities which tested their running, kicking, hand-eye co-ordination and communication skills.
Chris Smith said the overall standard was so impressive that it will be a challenge to select the most talented boys to join the Academy in 2020.
“It’s extra difficult in these age groups because there are so many boys at a high level, and they still have a lot of physical development ahead of them,’’ he said.
“But we’ve been doing these assessments for nearly 10 years and we’re adapting our processes every year so that our talent identification is more focused and targeted.
“We’re also putting more resources into making sure we identify boys in the 13, 14, and 15 years old age groups, so there are always other chances if boys don’t make the Academy now.’’
The Academy uses detailed video and data analysis to assess the players, and each boy receives an individual report a few weeks after the trials, when they find out whether they’ve been accepted into the program for 2020.