St Kilda NGA and SMJFL Interleague explainer
Previously, we have shared some information on the St Kilda Next Gen Academy (NGA) and the SMJFL Interleague, along with a congratulations to some of our players who had been selected to participate in these programs.
We got some great feedback that others were keen to know a bit more, so here’s a more detailed explainer.
Every year, the Hampton Rovers Juniors have representation from our boys and girls teams in the St Kilda NGA and the SMJFL Interleague programs. The selection process is conducted by the St Kilda NGA and the SMJFL, with minimal involvement of the clubs.
The purpose of St Kilda’s NGA is to identify and develop high potential players and has a focus on players with Indigenous and multicultural heritage from ages 11 to 18. The St Kilda NGA region covers a large area from Port Melbourne to Frankston. SMJFL are within the northern part of this region, known as the ‘Northern Hub’, with the remaining region known as the ‘Southern Hub’. St Kilda Football Club have been given the responsibility by AFL Victoria to oversee the programs for ages 11 to 18 in the region and work with the SMJFL to deliver its Interleague program (ages 11 to 15), and Coates Talent League Clubs (ages 16 to 18).
The pathway starts at Under 12 with an entry program. This is for two female and two male players from each SMJFL club. The numbers of places offered to clubs in Under 13s are based on the number of registrations at the club in that age group. Whilst clubs are invited to nominate players for consideration, ultimately selection into the pathway is based on scouting observations from St Kilda NGA pathway talent scouts during Rounds 1 to 6 in the season. In many instances there have been children nominated by the Hampton Rovers Juniors that have been overlooked, as the talent scouts will always make their own assessments. The scouts and selectors look to include ‘project players’ that they identify may have potential based on many years of scouting.
In the Under 14 and Under 15 age groups, players may be added to the pathway, or selection may be adjusted based on the number of places available in the overall NGA program. In Under14s, there is a two-stage program. The first 8-weeks are focused on training and skill development, and the second phase is selection based to determine the teams that play in the SMJFL’s Interleague carnival. There are also limits on how many players can be selected from a single club.
Club nominations are kept confidential. There are many examples of Rovers players that have been nominated by our club that do not get offered a place or an invitation to join the NGA program. To avoid disappointment, we do not communicate shortlists or nominations. It is important to note that selection into the NGA does not guarantee that a junior player is on a trajectory to the AFL. At most levels of the junior pathway, parents are required to pay a fee for their child to participate in the programs.
Any families looking to understand more about the SMJFL Pathway please visit the SMJFL website for more information: https://www.smjfl.com.au/pathways
Head of Football