AFL Europe Talent Combine Review
The 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was held in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of November. 21 athletes from Europe were selected to attend the event to further showcase their athleticism and skills to a panel of recruiters from the AFL community. From this, 5 players will be nominated to attend the US Combine held in Florida where there will be a scout from every AFL club overlooking the talent.
Players arrived the evening of Thursday 10th November to the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel Dublin, where they attended a ‘Welcome Dinner’ followed by an informal presentation hosted by former Sydney Swans player and current International Talent Manager, Tadhg Kennelly, who welcomed all players and presented them with their combine apparel.
Friday morning players completed a ‘Personality Profiling Assessment’, which will be used to gain a better understanding and insight into their mindsets. After the testing, all athletes were taken to the University College Dublin (UCD), who hosted this year’s Combine.
All players’ height, weight, skinfolds, arm length and hand span was recorded to help form their sporting profile. The first fitness assessment was completed in three sections, the first section was a Speed Test comprising of a 20m Sprint which was tested in blocks of 5, 10, 20 meters. The second section was an AFL Agility Run and the third was a Running and Standing Vertical Jump. All results were electronically recorded and generated for their sporting profile as well as for prospective clubs.
The second fitness assessment was the Beep Test, which tested their aerobic capabilities. All athletes pushed themselves remarkably, resulting in some fantastic outcomes.
Later that afternoon all players were taken through an introductory skills session indoors. It was the first time for some athletes to pick up an AFL football, however; after a matter of minutes they managed to become extremely familiar with the skill set required. Tadhg and his team hosted multiple skills activities and decision making drills.
After a huge day of testing, all players looked forward to jumping into the pool for a quick recovery session to enable them to pull up ready for the next day of testing.
Later that night, players attended AFL Europe and AFL Club interviews. They were asked several questions based on their background, their inspirations and their aspirations for life. This permitted the testers to generate more contextual information for each of the player’s profile.
An early start on day Three of the AFL Europe Combine saw all players transported to the UCD Sports Fields where they performed multiple skills activities and then finally competing in a game of AFL and Gaelic Football. From this, recruiters and staff members were able to see all athletes’ capabilities in game form and were extremely happy to witness some incredible performances.
On Saturday afternoon all players, parents and AFL Representatives were invited to attend a casual lunch followed by a presentation from the AFL. The presentation consisted of a short recap of Tadhg Kennelly’s journey to the Sydney Swans, a snapshot of how AFL recruitment works including the rules/the players welfare and lastly, an overview of living in Australia from the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard Andrews.
Overall, the 2016 AFL Europe Talent Combine was a major success; there were great results achieved and some amazing talent seen. We wish the best of luck to all 21 players and look forward to hearing about their future endeavors.
Article by Olivia Eason