Ten NT talent pathway players – including 2020 AFL NAB National Draft prospect Joel Jeffrey - are spending a week on the Gold Coast as part of a SUNS training and development program.

The Darwin region became a SUNS academy zone in September 2019, and SUNS GM of List Management and Strategy, Craig Cameron, said it will be a key recruiting area for the club.

“We are very committed to developing the next batch of AFL and AFLW players from Darwin region and this visit is part of that,” Cameron said.

“Darwin region will be an important recruiting area for the SUNS because it has a long track record of producing quality players. We expect to have more Territorians on our AFL and AFLW lists in coming years.”

The three-year academy agreement means Darwin based players – like Jeffrey – who are signed to the Gold Coast Academy may be pre-signed to the senior SUNS’ list without bidding. 

Cameron said Jeffrey had shown plenty of promise and would likely have drawn a first round bid from another club if available at the 2020 draft. 

“We are excited by Joel and look forward to continuing to work with him and develop his game ahead of the national draft,” he said. 

“He comes from a great Territory family and his dad, Russell, played at the highest level for St Kilda and Brisbane which is a good sign too.”  

The ten visiting players and NT Thunder Academy Coach, Jason Roe, will train at SUNS Metricon Stadium base, attend AFL games, play in an academy series game and work with SUNS staff during their visit.