Everything you need to know about the SMJFL Interleague / St Kilda NGA partnership

In late 2017, the St Kilda Football Club (St Kilda FC) and the South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) signed an agreement to partner on a single development and talent pathway program in the SMJFL region.

St Kilda FC’s Next Generation Academy (NGA) for 11 to 15 years in age will partner with the SMJFL’s Interleague program in 2018. This exciting partnership will see AFL expertise collaborating with the existing Interleague program to provide SMJFL players with the highest level of coaching and personal development in their journey as a player. The St Kilda FC’s NGA will be the sole pathway program for SMJFL players 11 to 15 years of age to participate in, in the region. A transition to the SMJFL TAC Cup club partners – Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers and Dandenong Stingrays – will commence at the completion of the U15 Interleague program.

The purpose of St Kilda FC’s NGA is to identify and develop talented players – both male and female and will have a focus on players with Indigenous and multicultural heritage from ages 11-15. St Kilda FC’s NGA region covers a large area from Port Melbourne to Frankston. The SMJFL is within the northern part of the region, known as the ‘Northern Hub’ with the remaining region known as the ‘Southern Hub’. St Kilda FC have been given the responsibility by AFL Victoria to oversee the programs from 11-18 in the region and to work with SMJFL to deliver its Interleague program.

In previous years, SMJFL operated the Intraleague Under 12 programs as well as the Interleague program for Under 13 through to Under 15’s with great success. TAC cup clubs have previously operated their own Under 14 and 15 development programs at the completion of Interleague each year. The new St Kilda FC NGA collaboration with the SMJFL Interleague will supersede the TAC Cup U14 and U15 programs and will be the only talent development pathway program in the region.

In the second half of the player’s 15th year, TAC Cup clubs will oversee a process which identifies and transitions talented players to their Development programs. Players are recruited to TAC Cup programs based on their residential address, with Sandringham Dragons the predominant pathway for SMJFL registered players, however, a small number of SMJFL players will be in the Oakleigh Chargers or Dandenong Stingrays zones.

From 2018, TAC Cup clubs will modify their programs and focus on under 16-18 development and talent programs only within the Northern and Southern areas of St Kilda FC’s NGA region.

The graphic below demonstrates the new pathway for SMJFL players dependant on age group. St Kilda FC NGA players in the Under 14 or 15 programs may be selected to represent SMJFL at AFL Victoria’s annual Victorian Junior Metro Championships. This selection is a fantastic opportunity to compete against peers from other leagues. A high percentage of SMJFL players competing in Interleague have been successful in being selected into TAC Cup club programs as a pathway to being drafted to the AFL and AFLW.

For more information on the programs by age group, click here