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AFL announces Kennelly gig

  • Thursday, December 08 2011 @ 03:58 pm ACDT
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Europe After plenty of media coverage in Ireland in the past week the AFL has officially appointed recently retired Sydney Swans player Tadhg Kennelly as an AFL Ambassador.

Tadhg will undertake a number of development roles. He will be an assistant coach and mentor for the AIS-AFL Academy level two squad under head coach Michael O’Loughlin and alongside other mentors/assistant coaches Brad Johnson, Matthew Lloyd and Glen Jakovich. He will also coach the Under 16 NSW/ACT team and will be an assistant coach for Under 18 NSW/ACT team in the NAB AFL Under 16 and Under 18 Championships.
Tadhg will also mentor players that come to Australia aspiring to play AFL at the highest level, including players from the Under 16 World XVIII and South Pacific teams.

AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods said there is a growing overseas interest in Australian Football.

“There are now more than 100,000 people playing our game throughout the world and with that comes a growing pool of talent. In next 12 months the AFL will conduct International Combines in Fiji, New Zealand, Europe, the United States and China.

“We hope to create a clearer pathway for international players and Tadhg’s life experiences playing AFL at the highest level will be invaluable to young players,” he said.

Tadhg said he was looking forward to working with players either taking on the challenge to adopt to new game or striving to be listed with an AFL club.

“I know from my own experience what it is like to learn new skills, understand a different language and overcome homesickness. It is also appealing to work with the very best emerging talent in Australia with Michael O’Loughlin.

“I’m also looking forward to experiencing coaching for the first time and to work closely with the best talent in New South Wales and the ACT,” he said.

Tadhg retired from the Sydney Swans this year after 10 seasons and 197 games. He is one of the most successful VFL/AFL international players. He was recruited from County Kerry as a rookie in 2001. After he was elevated to the senior list he was nominated for the Rising Star in 2002. He was a member of the Swans’ 2005 premiership side.

Many in Ireland are concerned that one of their own will be the AFL's official Pied Piper luring the best Irish talent to the Australian game.