FOR GENERATIONS, Port Adelaide was the gold-standard in junior football development - its rich SANFL recruiting zones in the Le Fevre Peninsula and the West Coast developing some of Australia's most renowned footballers.
And while those SANFL zones were dissolved in 2014, Port Adelaide's contribution to football development has been reborn through its new Next Generation Academy program.
Through this, the club is able to develop talented footballers in selected territories of South Australia.
They include the club's traditional 'heartland' areas on the west coast and around its Alberton base.
But it also includes the zones of its 'aligned' SANFL clubs - Norwood, West Adelaide, South Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens.
This means Port has access to developing footballers from these clubs - zones that spread south to the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, the Yorke Peninsula and Mid North, the Riverland and the metro region from Norwood up through Lower North East Road towards Tea Tree Gully and Greenwith, from Parafield and Paralowie up Port Wakefield Road, and the inner western suburbs south towrads Noarlunga and beyond.
The current Next Gen Academy has access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players and migrants from African and Asian backgrounds.
Port Adelaide's SANFL and Next Generation Academies Manager Shane Grimm says this program is the first step towards and exciting football development future for the club.
"Next Gen Academies mean Port Adeladie can get back to having an involvement in the development of talented juniors in SA and help improve the state's elite talented," Grimm said.
"It also allows us to introduce people from culturally diverse background to Aussie Rules and have a genuine involvement trying to develop players from Asian and African background who could potentially be drafted onto our list.
Port Adelaide will also begin to ramp up its involvement in female football development, with its first female academy starting by the end of May.
"Our female focus is comprehensive, and the first step we'll take is through our Under-18 female talent squad," Grimm said.
"We'll be value-adding to existing SANFL talent programs at West, South, Norwood and the Eagles, and will have elite talent programs for boys and girls from these SANFL clubs starting up in June."