AFL clubs widen search for future stars - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL clubs widen search for future stars

By Adam Cooper 26/03/2010 08:20:10 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn's two debutants on Saturday against Melbourne were taken from the long path, but coach Alastair Clarkson expects AFL clubs to do more looking outside traditional recruiting methods in the future.

The Hawks' injury count means rookies Carl Peterson, 22, and Jarrod Kayler-Thomson, 24, will get their chance earlier than expected, in the round-one clash against Melbourne at the MCG.

Clarkson was happy for the mature-age pair, as both were recruited from different corners of the country and given chances at cracking the big time.

Peterson spent 2007 with Richmond but was delisted and returned home to the Top End before he was recruited from Darwin club St Marys.

Kayler-Thomson was overlooked as a teenager in Victoria but spent several seasons playing for Perth in the WAFL before getting his chance through the AFL's decision to let clubs recruit mature-age rookies.

The pair present a stark contrast to teenage Demons Tom Scully, Jack Trengove and James Strauss, who were all selected as high picks in last year's national draft and have been destined for AFL careers since they were schoolboys.

Clarkson said he expected clubs to use different approaches to recruiting players in the future, including looking overseas and in every outpost in Australia, no matter how remote.

This would be even more prescient given the entry of new sides into the competition from next year, when the Gold Coast enter the league, and Greater Western Sydney join in 2012.

"You're going to have to search far and wide as we've seen," Clarkson said on Friday.

"A lot of clubs have been doing it for some time, searching through Ireland for possible players, South Africa has been mentioned and we're exploring New Zealand.

"Other clubs (are looking) at different parts of the world as well and indeed really searching far and wide right throughout the course of Australia.

"Indigenous kids, there's a lot of academies and programs going on and I think we're going to have to search far and wide for players now that there's going to be more teams in the competition.

"But that's good for our game and it's good for giving more people opportunity to play this great game of ours."

Melbourne fans will be eager to see how Scully, the No.1 pick last year, Trengove (No.2) and Strauss (No.19) fare in their first games given how much optimism their selections generated for the reigning wooden-spooner.

Demons veteran Cameron Bruce said he could not remember two young players having the influence on a group that Scully and Trengove had during the pre-season.

"I haven't seen two guys come in and have such an impact within the group that these two have," Bruce said.

But Clarkson was unsure what impact the young Demons would have.

"It's difficult to say, we've seen debut players like (Chris) Judd (in 2002) come in and have an impact straight away and we've seen other debut players take some time to adjust to the tempo of the game," he said.

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