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2011 NAB AFL Draft to be in Western Sydney

  • Wednesday, June 29 2011 @ 12:50 pm ACST
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General News

New South Wales Minister for Sport and Recreation, Graham Annesley, and AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou today announced the 2011 NAB AFL Draft would be held in Western Sydney on Thursday November 24.

The AFL's 18th club - the Greater Western Sydney Giants - will join the competition for the 2012 season and Minister Annesley said he was excited the Draft, which will welcome the bulk of the new talent to the game's newest club, will be held in the club's back yard.

“The AFL have made a substantial investment in Western Sydney and the arrival of the Greater Western Sydney Giants will see increased participation and competition between all sporting codes, and deliver greater opportunities and entertainment for fans,” Mr Annesley added.

Under the establishment rules for the Giants, which were in line for those given to the Gold Coast Suns, the club will have Pick One in each Round of the Draft, along with selections two, three, five, seven, nine, 11, 13 and 15 in Round One. The club can trade any of these selections.

Mr Demetriou said he was delighted the NSW Government and Events NSW had chosen to support the placing of the 2011 NAB AFL Draft in Western Sydney, as one of the major events within the AFL competition. "The GWS Giants have been preparing for their AFL entry for more than two years, under the leadership of Tony Shepherd and Dale Holmes, and the decisions the club will make at the 2011 NAB AFL Draft will be pivotal to the club’s future over the next decade,” Mr Demetriou said.

“When the Giants take their place in our competition alongside the Sydney Swans, who have been a wonderful club in the state for nearly three decades, AFL football will finally be played in NSW for every week of our premiership season,” he said.

Mr Demetriou said the decision to place the draft in NSW this year, after it was held on the Gold Coast in 2010 before the entry of the Suns into the competition this year, reflected the desire of the AFL to further build its talent pathway in the state. “While there are now nearly 20 players across the competition who list NSW as their original state, we are determined to uncover more NSW talent for our competition,” Mr Demetriou said.

“Western Sydney has always proven to be an excellent breeding ground for quality athletes across all sports, and the AFL has clearly recognised the potential of the region,” Mr Annesley added. “Securing the 2011 AFL Draft is a major coup for the NSW Government and again highlights our commitment to kick goals for the people of this state,” Mr Annesley concluded.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said he welcomed today’s announcement. “The AFL Draft has grown into one of the biggest events on the AFL calendar - I am delighted to welcome the Draft to Western Sydney for the first time,” Mr O’Farrell said. “There is always keen interest amongst AFL fans about which clubs the best young players in the country will join and that will be particularly so this year as Greater Western Sydney chooses its inaugural squad.

“Western Sydney is a place of great community spirit and opportunity and is ready to take its place in the AFL spotlight.” Mr Demetriou said he again wished to thank NAB for its support for the AFL Draft and Rising Stars program. “Our partnership with NAB is a critical component of the overall success of our game and I’d like to personally thank NAB for their support in moving the 2011 NAB AFL Draft to Western Sydney.

“The current 2011 NAB AFL Under 18s championships have provided some outstanding football across the country and we are all looking forward to the best of that talent making their way onto AFL club lists in November this year at the NAB AFL Draft.”

Jaap Jonkman, State GM nabBusiness NSW/ACT, said NAB is excited about the shift to Western Sydney. "Since 2002 NAB has been helping Australia’s most talented young footballers reach their potential through the NAB AFL Rising Star Program," he said. "We’re really proud to be associated with this program and the extraordinary calibre of young men represented at the NAB AFL Draft each year. We have many Sydney-based employees and customers who are passionate AFL fans and we welcome this event with open arms," Mr Jonkman said.

FOX SPORTS General Manager Melbourne, Rod Law, said FOX SPORTS will once again provide LIVE and EXCLUSIVE coverage of the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. “Last year’s coverage of the NAB AFL Draft from the Gold Coast was a great success and we are looking forward to providing a detailed and entertaining broadcast of this year’s event from Western Sydney in what will be another landmark occasion in AFL history in November.”