One such player is 19-year-old Sam Barkley, who said that he has already grown as a player at the club.
“The coaches are very welcoming and personal with giving advice,” he declared.
“They will take you aside and make sure you are getting it and tell you what you are doing well and what you aren’t doing so well so that has been really helpful to me for adjusting to NEAFL level this year.”
Barkley also said that the more experienced players have been invaluable in providing support for him during the early stages of his playing career.
“A lot of the boys – ‘Barto’, Tom Young, ‘Stevo’, ‘Birdy’, Shawn Edwards… they are all experienced campaigners and are very good players but they are also willing to help out the younger boys and give them as much insight as possible,” he stated.
Nick Foster is a graduate of the Sydney Swans academy and has also benefited from the club’s mentor program.
“They put in place a mentor program from a young age which hooks you up with one of the senior players within your local area… it was invaluable for me,” he said.
Foster also said that the balance of youth and experience has been integral to the team’s success this year and that it holds them in good stead for the future.
“We are seeing a lot more success this year and last year because the core group of young guys and senior players have merged and integrated together,” he noted.
“It did take a while but we are starting to see the rewards with those young guys starting to take leadership and direct the new young guys coming through.”
The development program provides the opportunity for young men to gain invaluable skills that will help them grow both on and off the field and that is something Morrison is particularly proud of.
“They will be 22-year-old young men with 100+ NEAFL games to their name, vastly developed life skills, highly educated leaders of our program with countless employment opportunities ahead of them, and still with the door well and truly open to play AFL football,” he said.
“Not many programs can say that, we really do value the holistic development of our athletes.”
The NEAFL squad take on the Canberra Demons this Saturday 12th May at 1pm at BISP.
This article was originally published by Andrew Jackson on suanfc.com. View the original article here.