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First-year players gather for Induction Camp

The AFL’s newest batch of draftees gathered at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne today for the annual AFL Players’ Association Induction Camp.

The two-day camp sees 125 new AFL players from across all 18 clubs briefed on a number of topics, including:

  • career development
  • financial literacy
  • personal brand
  • wellbeing
  • vilification and diversity
  • respectful relationships
  • Illicit Drugs Policy
  • match fixing and gambling
  • anti-doping.

On Monday the draftees heard first-hand what it takes to build a successful AFL career, with current and former players sharing their experience and knowledge with the young group.

Recently-retired Kangaroo and Saint Nick Dal Santo hosted the day’s proceedings and Geelong great Jimmy Bartel addressed the group as the keynote speaker, while St Kilda’s Jade Gresham, former West Coast Eagles defender Mitch Brown and former Lion and Bomber James Polkinghorne featured in a panel discussion.

AFL Players’ Association President Matthew Pavlich welcomed the players into the union via a video message.

AFLPA General Manager of Player Development Brett Johnson said a key focus of the camp was to ensure the draftees understand the importance of maximising their AFL careers and the opportunities it provides on and off the field.

“The AFLPA provides a range of first-class programs, services and benefits to all members during and after their football careers — whether that be education and training assistance, wellbeing support or financial advice,” he said.

“It’s important for the draftees to understand that foundations for post-football careers need to start being laid from the minute they are drafted into the system. The average AFL career is only six years so it’s crucial that we’re always looking towards the bigger picture.”

No.1 draft pick Andrew McGrath tackled the day with a desire to soak in as much insight and information as possible in the early stages of his career.

“To hear first-hand from some of the biggest names in the game about how they have gone about their footy and careers outside of football is invaluable,” he said.

“There’s a lot we can learn from these guys who have done it all before so I’m trying to take in as much as possible.”

On day two of the camp, the players will be educated on the Illicit Drugs Policy, match-fixing, gambling and anti-doping.