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
In 2019, St Kilda FC’s Next Generation Academy (NGA) for 11 to 15 years in age will again partner
with the SMJFL’s Interleague Program. This exciting partnership will see AFL expertise collaborating
with the existing interleague program to provide SMJFL players 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 11-18. St Kilda
FC’s NGA region covers a large area from Port Melbourne to Frankston. SMJFL are 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 will work with SMJFL to deliver its Interleague program (ages
11-15), and TAC Cup Clubs (ages 16-18).
Prior to 2018, 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 St Kilda FC NGA collaboration with the SMJFL Interleague replaced the TAC Cup U14
and U15 programs and is the only talent development pathway program in the region.
At the end of the Under 15 program players are recruited to TAC Cup programs based on their
residential address, in the SMJFL region this is predominantly the Sandringham Dragons, however a
small number of SMJFL players will be in the Oakleigh Chargers or Dandenong Stingrays zones.
The player Junior Talent Pathway graphic 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 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.