Trials for the Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy will be held at Thebarton Oval on Sunday 23 October from 9.00am.
The 2023 Academy program will consist of male and female squads of 25 players each, with in-season events and training to take place on Wednesday during school terms.
In addition, the Academy program will offer a range of special opportunities, including a pre-season camp on Kaurna Country in Adelaide, Dreamtime at the ‘G during Reconciliation Week, Garma festival and an overseas exchange in New Zealand.
The Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy has a proud history, with many current and former AFL players participating in the program prior to being drafted.
While the Academy is a talent program for promising footballers, it also provides a range of other cultural, education and health training and initiatives.
This, says Tjindu Foundation general manager Kellie Graves, is important for developing participant leadership.
“Football is often seen as the primary aim of a football academy, with other outcomes secondary – but in the Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy, we use footy as the driver to achieve our main health, education and cultural outcomes,” she says.
“It’s about building culturally strong, resilient capable and healthy leaders.
“We’ve been very proud of the achievements of the Academy participants amid the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we’re able to resume our cultural exchange initiatives around the nation.
“That gives an opportunity for the kids in the program to travel around Australia and get involved in high-profile cultural experiences. The Academy really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
That cultural immersion takes place outside of major events as well. Throughout the year, students will learn about the history, art and dance, horticultural science, astronomy, artefacts and repatriation practices of different language groups.
The program’s focus on health outcomes will also provide opportunities to learn from dieticians and nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and mental, dental and sexual health.
Football matches are played throughout the year against South Australian schools. This will expand to interstate opponents when on tour in Reconciliation Week in 2023.
Specialist coaches will also join the program week-to-week to provide their expertise to participants.
To nominate for the Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy trials at Thebarton Oval on Sunday 23 October, please register here.