In 2014, the Port Adelaide Football Club in partnership with the South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy established the Aboriginal AFL Academy. This partnership saw Port Adelaide become the first AFL club to house and dedicate its time to educational success of school aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander footballers.
The program invites a squad of 36 players into the Academy, where they attend a once-a-week education and training day at Alberton Oval during the school year.
Mentored by Port Adelaide staff, coaches and players, the Academy participates in a range of high-performance activities. The players also complete a Certificate III and IV in a variety of disciplines such as fitness and Aboriginal studies.
Since the inception of the program five Academy members have been drafted to AFL clubs; Wayne Milera (Adelaide - 2015), Tyson Stengle (Richmond - 2017, now Adelaide), Kym Lebois (Carlton - 2016), Brandan Parfitt (Geelong - 2016), Izak Rankine (Gold Coast - 2019) and Kysaiah Pickett (Melbourne - 2019).
In 2018, the Aboriginal AFL Academy program featured:
- A squad of 36 students, including 20 Year 12 and 16 Year 11 participants
- Attendance at Alberton once a week for 33 weeks
- Football tours against other schools and Academy programs, locally and nationally
- Participation in Port Adelaide’s AFL Indigenous Round tour to Melbourne
- Elite individual fitness and training programs for participants
- A cultural trip to North East Arnhem Land to attend the annual Garma Cultural Festival as part of their Stage 2 Aboriginal Studies.
Direct further enquiries to Paul Vandenbergh, Director, Aboriginal Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org