More than 100 first-year players were welcomed into the AFL system at the AFL Players’ Association’s two-day Induction Camp this week.
The AFLPA ran sessions on topics like financial ownership, resilience and thriving, learning and growth, personal brand and social leadership, while AFL staff educated players on issues such as illicit drugs and match fixing, anti-doping and respectful relationships.
Draftees also heard from guest speakers such as former players Anthony Koutoufides, Brad Sewell and Chris Knights, up-and-coming Melbourne duo Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw, and MMA fighter and cancer survivor Nadine Champion.
Here’s what the players had to say about the camp.
Jacob Hopper – GWS Giants draftee
“There’s some really good stuff with social media, financial, and social [leadership] stuff.
“There’s MAX 360, where you look at all facets [of AFL life] – not just footy and where that can take you – but getting yourself set for after footy, and focusing on while you’re in footy, what you can do to better yourself as a person.”
Jacob Weitering – Carlton draftee
“There is a life outside of football, and with all the education the AFL Players’ Association gives us, we just take that on board and continue to learn.
“Obviously we take on uni courses, tafe courses, start up businesses – there are all different parts of life that we’ve got to worry about.”
Matthew Pavlich – Fremantle captain and Afl players’ president
“I’m proud that we at the AFLPA continue to provide a range of first class benefits, services and programs that have been designed to assist all members while in the game, as well as transitioning out of the game.”
Darcy Tucker – Fremantle draftee
“We now have an idea of what it takes to save your career in football.
“We’ve had a lot of workshops, presentations and guest speakers to give us the advice we need to make the most of our opportunity.
“It’s the first time I’ve had a presentation on how to manage your finances and what you’re exposed to as an AFL player. Some of the things we’ve heard before but it’s important to hear it again to make sure you do everything right and stay out of trouble.”
MATT KENNEDY – GWS GIANTS DRAFTEE
“It can be quite overwhelming as a draftee, so this induction was the perfect way to discuss any concerns or problems we may face.
“The main thing I’ll take away is that as footballers we need to take responsibility for our own actions. It all comes down to showing respect for yourself and for others.”
brett johnson – General Manager – Player Development, AFL Players’ Association
“It’s important for these draftees to understand that footy isn’t forever. The average career is about six years and post-football opportunities don’t materialise overnight – the foundations need to be set early in their playing careers.
“The AFLPA has a wide range of services available to all AFL players during and post their career to ensure they are thriving both on and off the field, and today is about educating these draftees about what is available to them, whether that be financial guidance, education and training grants or assistance through our nation-wide independent psychology network.”