Players from the QBE Sydney Swans Academy top-end squad will be given the opportunity to train at senior level this year.
In a new initiative by the Academy, a rotation of four boys from the program’s under-18 squad will be given the chance to train with Sydney Swans senior group on the SCG throughout the season.
Swans Academy Talent ID and Operations Manager Chris Smith said Tuesday’s training session was the first of many opportunities for the Swans Academy players to experience training at the elite level.
“The idea is for our top-end Academy squad to be given opportunities to train with the senior group throughout the year,” he said.
“This week, which is the first week, we had Stephen Wray, Rory Pryor, Lachlan Kilpatrick and Brandon Jack training with the group.
“The four boys this week are the first of the boys to be given that experience, and we’ll slowly rotate the rest of the group through the T1 training sessions (the first training session of the week) throughout the year.”
With a number of Academy boys representing the Swans in the second-tier reserves competition, Smith said training with elite AFL players was invaluable experience for his players.
“A couple of the boys have trained before and have played as reserves players in the NEAFL, so now it’s just introducing that training environment to them as well,” he said.
“You just find that this is a really good way to reward them for their efforts, as well as giving them some awareness to what the senior blokes do and the kind of level they train at.”
Smith added that this year was the most important year for his top-age Academy players to take their development to the next level if they aspired to join the AFL competition in 2013.
“These boys are 18, so they are in their draft year,” he said.
“It’s about introducing them to another elevated training environment and just seeing how they adjust. They have a taste test and we give them one or two goes and then all of a sudden you see improvements.”