Academy of dreams

The future stars of Latrobe Valley football will have the opportunity to shine even sooner with a new junior academy set to be established in Traralgon.

Gippsland Power and AFL Gippsland are setting up six academies across the region following the success of the East Gippsland Junior Academy Program, which was established two years ago.

The Traralgon academy will follow the same model, featuring under 12 and under 14 groups.

The two organisations have also identified Sale and Warragul as other academy locations.

AFL Gippsland Football Development Manager Adrian Bromage and Gippsland Power Talent Manager Peter Francis will oversee the implementation of the new academies as well as maintaining the existing one in Bairnsdale, which this year will feature a youth girls’ academy for girls aged 13 to 17 years.

Francis was excited about the prospect of fast tracking regional players’ development, which he was confident would ultimately lead to greater numbers graduating to Gippsland Power programs with a stronger skill base.

“Exposing kids to the talent pathway earlier will give them a better idea of the expectations that come with it,” Francis said.

“By participating in sessions with external coaches and presenters players will get the chance to broaden their experiences and develop leadership skills.”

Bromage said the core aim of the program was to develop individual player skills in all areas of the game, as well as leadership behaviours among young footballers.

“The program will offer participants the opportunity to concentrate on individual skill development from the basics right through good habits,” Bromage said.

“Participants will gain exposure to specialist coaching in different aspects of the game, as well as access to better equipment and training programs, skill analysis and fitness testing which will provide them with feedback on ways to improve their game.”

The program includes six sessions between February and April and culminates with a testing day hosted by Hawthorn and Gippsland Power football clubs.

Invitations have already been issued to prospective participants, with about 30 players to be selected for each age group from across each junior league or association.

Information sessions will be held in early February, with training to commence the following week.