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Ellie Hampson – Academy Player of the Year

Ellie Hampson has won the 2019 Academy Player of the Year Award after a standout year with the Gold Coast SUNS.

7:35pm  Aug 31, 2019

Connor Budarick – Academy Player of the Year

Connor Budarick has won the Academy Player of the Year Award.

7:35pm  Aug 31, 2019

Team Announcement: Academy product Graham to debut

Gold Coast SUNS Academy graduate Caleb Graham has been confirmed to make his AFL debut this weekend in QClash18.

6:18pm  Aug 8, 2019

SUNS Academy member Connor Budarick RD17 NEAFL Rising Star

The young star found plenty of the ball in Gold Coast’s win over the Giants at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.

7:01pm  Jul 30, 2019

Academy member Austin Harris named U16 All Australian

SUNS Academy prospect Austin Harris has earnt All Australian honours for his performances in the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships.

4:49pm  Jul 18, 2019

SUNS Academy Zones

Click the region of the map to discover the SUNS Academy zones

Club Academy background

The Club Academies were created to engage and develop underage talent in non-traditional AFL markets such as New South Wales and Queensland. They are a joint initiative between the AFL, AFL Affiliates and the four Northern AFL Clubs (GWS Giants, Sydney, Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns), and are aimed at increasing the opportunities for young people in NSW and QLD to learn about and play the game of Australian Rules football. The four Northern AFL Clubs are incentivised through draft concessions for their role in growing the Australian Rules talent pool in NSW and QLD, and ultimately strengthening the State and Community leagues in those states.

Next Generation Academy background

The Next Generation Academies (NGA's) are a joint initiative between the AFL and AFL Clubs aimed at the attraction, retention and development of all talented players (both male and female), whilst growing participation in the under-represented segments of our community.

A key objective of the NGA's is to increase the talent pool of Indigenous and Multicultural players. These groups are significantly under-represented in the AFL comparative to the population, and therefore AFL Clubs are incentivised through draft concessions for their role in growing this talent pool. However, the primary function of the NGA's is to provide a Club based talent program to all kids, using the AFL Clubs' profile and expertise to raise awareness and interest in the programs.

Academy programs

Each AFL Club has a designated region to run their own Next Generation and/or Club Academy Program, which may involve a variety of activities including:

  • Australian Rules Football Clinics and skills sessions
  • 'Come and Try' days involving an introduction to Australian Rules football
  • Leadership and Teamwork programs
  • Fitness Testing and training programs
  • Education sessions (i.e. Cultural Awareness, Nutrition, Health Living, etc.)

Participants will be exposed to an elite football environment through top-level coaching, first-class facilities and expertise across health, fitness and personal development. Each Clubs program may differ slightly, but will involve multiple sessions across each of these key areas and will be conducted through school holidays and/or out of hour's programs.


Each club has a designated region to conduct their Next Generation and/or Club Academy programs. The above map outlines each of the Club's Academy Regions, and provides a web link for each Clubs webpage where further information can be gathered on specific club programs (see map).

Getting involved

To become involved in an AFL Club Next Generation Academy, please use the map on this webpage to establish which NGA/Club Academy region you reside in, and contact that AFL Club for more information on their programs. Weblinks to each Club website are available by clicking on your relevant region within the map.