Swans versus GWS a welcome throwback - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans versus GWS a welcome throwback

By Daniel Brettig 16/02/2011 06:06:37 PM Comments (0)

Greater Western Sydney will on Saturday night be offered the sort of chance considered essential to the rise of a raft of sporting greats in the past.

A run out against a team of men, in this case Sydney, is something few under-age AFL players will enjoy in 2011, as talent identification and age-group competition comprises their entire experience of the game until they are drafted.

Many sportsmen believe this leaves a gap that was once filled by the chastening experience of being sat on one's backside by older players in local club competition, leading to a sense of greater accomplishment among teenagers than is deserved.

Former Swans coach Paul Roos, in Blacktown on Wednesday to watch the Giants train, said it would be a priceless experience for the youngsters.

"It's a great opportunity, it's going to be tough no doubt, I watched the Swans last week and (Adam Goodes is) up and going and (Jarrad) McVeigh and (Nick) Malceski," he said.

"But one thing the under 18s don't get a chance before they come into AFL football is to play against footballers.

"Sometimes they come in with an inflated opinion of themselves and come through the AIS system (thinking) 'I'm a good player, I'm number one or number two draft pick' and suddenly they hit a brick wall.

"So these kids will hit a brick wall on Saturday night, which will be great, because then (Giants coach Kevin Sheedy) will have 12 months to knock down the brick wall and it's an opportunity that most kids don't get 12 months prior to making their proper debut in 2012.

"Saturday night is going to be a big shock for them, but it's going to be a good thing - if they learn from it there's nothing to be lost, regardless of what the score is going to be."

Sheedy recalled his adolescence in the hard school of the VFA, which fostered a hard-nosed game so valuable to Richmond in the 1970s.

"I started in the VFA at 16 and I used to play against men at 16 years of age and that was a pretty gruesome little footy league down there in Melbourne," he said.

"I thought that I learned so much between 16, 17, 18 and by the time I was at Richmond and I was 19 I knew more than what I used to.

"And you get it knocked out of you, if you think you're pretty good you will be sorted out very quickly in that sort of competition.

"A lot of these kids wouldn't even be drafted right now.

"We've had four months to train them, had a couple of games ourselves, and I know we didn't play an AFL side last week but we had 30 shots at goal and that's a pretty good effort."

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