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Hardwick hits again at critics over Suns getting preferential draft picks ‘for the higher good of the sport’

Gold Coast Suns coach Damien Hardwick has defended the AFL draft guidelines as they apply to northern academies as very important for the expansion of the sport after southern state disquiet.

Rising Suns Academy merchandise  Ethan Learn, Will Graham, Jed Walter and Jake Rogers – all within the high 40 draft picks –  have been snapped up by the Suns within the first spherical of the draft and different golf equipment had no look in.  

Beneath present guidelines, golf equipment outdoors of Queensland and NSW can’t cease rivals from poaching their Subsequent Technology Academy (NGA) gamers if a bid is positioned inside the primary 40 draft picks.

The northern golf equipment are usually not restricted and are capable of match a bid on their Academy gamers regardless of the place it comes on draft night time.

This has brought about angst outdoors of NSW and Queensland however Hardwick had no time for the naysayers and backed the system because it stands.

“I do know there are at all times going to be individuals who will try to carry it down however for the higher good of the sport it’s an extremely necessary a part of the sport transferring ahead,” Hardwick stated of the present guidelines.

“I’m actually enthusiastic about these 4 gamers and getting to point out the higher Australian inhabitants what these youngsters can do.

“To develop the sport if we would like this sport, which it’s in my view, to be the best sport inside Australia now we have obtained to proceed to develop it within the northern markets.”

Hardwick was requested in regards to the “chat” from golf equipment outdoors of the northern states in regards to the Suns getting an unfair benefit from the present system, however the coach stated the principles as they stood ought to be trigger for “a celebration”.

“These 4 youngsters won’t be within the AFL system with out the Academy. The funding beneath (Suns Academy coach) Jarrod Cotton and his workforce is unbelievable with the effort and time they put into it,” he stated.

“To have 4 youngsters which have primarily grown up right here to play our nice recreation is extremely necessary to the success of the AFL basically.”

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: Head Coach Damien Hardwick speaks to the media during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session at Heritage Bank Stadium on November 27, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Damien Hardwick. (Photograph by Chris Hyde/Getty Photos)

Hardwick stated he hoped all 4 would push for a spot within the aspect to play Richmond in spherical one subsequent yr.

He stated it was “onerous to say” whether or not that will be the case after someday of pre-season coaching.

“We have now had one session and a few guys have had a restricted preparation,” he stated.

“Jed and Jake are in all probability just a little bit additional again at this stage with harm. From our perspective, we received’t put a ceiling on these guys. 

“In the event that they put their hand up and are in the very best 22 they’re in the very best 22.

“They’ve all obtained unbelievable expertise and we’re extremely fortunate to have them at our footy membership to make it higher.”




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