Yarra Magpies Academy

Next Generation Academy concept – Introduction and Background

The AFL has partnered with AFL Clubs to run football talent and development academies for youth aged 11-15 years of age, which will incorporate the attraction, retention and development of talented players (both male and female), whilst growing participation in underrepresented segments of the community – specifically multicultural and indigenous (MI). This partnership has been formed under the auspices of a Next Generation Academy (NGA).

From AFL Victoria’s involvement, the official talent pathway has been reformed. NGA regions have been allocated by the AFL based on a range of factors that, in Victoria, include aligning with existing leagues and Elite Under 18 Competition regions. Collingwood has been allocated Melbourne’s inner eastern metropolitan region that incorporates the majority of YJFL’s region who are aligned with U18 Elite Competition Club the Oakleigh Chargers.  The work with the YMA participants will be in the age groups from 12-15 years of age.

Within the Under 18 Elite competition and programs, Collingwood will work with the Oakleigh Chargers in the program for ages U16 to U18.

Yarra Magpies Academy

YJFL and Collingwood NGA has combined to form the Yarra Magpies Academy (YMA). The YMA will aim to provide the best model for football skill development. Among other things, participants will focus on fundamental skill development, game sense and off-field personal development holistic education such as leadership, nutrition and recovery.

The YMA model will the see the YJFL interleague training program partner with Collingwood NGA for (Under 12-Under 15) as well as the current Oakleigh Chargers program at U16s. The key principle is to merge the programs and to provide one key talent development program. The program will focus on the individual development of the players. Eligible players will be selected and elevated to Interleague teams to represent their league in the annual AFL Victoria Metro Championships, interleague, NGA games or representative matches.

In the past Yarra JFL has compiled representative squads with the primary goal of competing in the against other leagues either by arrangement (under 13), or through the AFL Victoria’s Junior Metro Championship series for under 14 and under 15 aged boys and girls.

The major change is the program’s purpose. Whilst between under 13 and Under 15 there will still be games played to pit the best players against other leagues and intra-league games, the primary focus will be on progressive AFL skill and personal development under a defined curriculum that starts at under 13 and progresses through to Under 15, focusing on the skill execution expected for entry into the Under 18 elite competition.  This means that all players in the program, regardless if they make the YJFL team, will get ongoing skills development, putting them in the best position for AFL selection at an older age.  There are countless players, picked up on AFL or AFLW draft night, that did not make junior representative squads. This new program method ensures ongoing development for all in the program.

The partnership joins Collingwood NGA coaches and YJFL coaches under the one Yarra Magpies Academy banner so players will have access to best in class coaching.

Players aligned (by residential geography) with other Elite U18 comp regions (eg Northern Knights or Eastern Ranges) should align with the league talent pathway (in YJFL’s case the Yarra Magpies Academy) until Under 15 and align under geography at Under 16 into the U18 Comp Talent region.

2019 is the last year that Under 18 Elite competition regions will have under 15 offerings. Many have already phased them out. From 2020 these clubs will only offer U16-U18 programs. We understand for 2019 this creates overlay and potential confusion. The direction from AFL VIC is the YMA is the official talent pathway for children playing in the Yarra Junior Football league in born 2005-2007.

Principles of the Yarra Magpies Academy Partnership

  1. The Yarra Magpies Academy (YMA) will aim to provide the best model for football skill development
  2. Align with the AFL strategy for involvement of AFL clubs in the pathway
  3. Develop MI and Talent in preparation for entry into the under 16 level of the Under 18 Elite junior pathway
  4. Boys and Girls developed to execute fundamental football skills at a high level
  5. Where possible collaborate with Under 18 Elite Competition club programs to ensure smooth transition to U16s.


Selection to the YMA

Collingwood NGA Management submitted participants from Yarra JFL Clubs to be considered for selection. Additionally players who played in rep programs (2019 u14/15) or the futures programs (2019 u12) where invited, along with high performers in the league best and fairest, with particular emphasis on the higher grades.

Whilst the field days offer input to the process they are not the complete process. Selectors will also place emphasis on evidence of talent over a longer period knowledgeable that player may have had an off day when performing on the field day.


Players entering the YJFL from other leagues

Clubs should advise the YJFL of players who came from other leagues and played rep football in 2019

Club input

Under 13 Boys (first field day complete)

The initial field day nomination process may leave a few holes in talent and clubs can offer input to this. YJFL will administer the list explaining to clubs who has trialed and who accepted to attend the field  day. Those who were offered a nomination and chose not to attend, (with the exception of of those who or advised the league of non attendance)  will not be considered for the club nomination. Each club can present up to 2 additional players. Please do not have parents approach the league directly. Go through your clubs

Under 13 Girls and Under 15 Girls

Invitations have gone out and we have asked that registrations be complete by 13 Feb. We will then publish the list of those who have accepted nominations and potentially open up for more nominations depending on initial invite take up.

Please do not have parents approach the league directly. Go through your clubs

Under 14 and Under 15 Boys

Under 15 Boys and Under 14 Boys initial nominations have been sent. Again, in the opinion of clubs there may be some other talent available.

We will be publishing to clubs the list of players nominated and will allow an additional 2 players per club to try out at the field day.

Please do not have parents approach the league directly. Go through your clubs


Players accepted into the YMA

The final lists will be forthcoming late March. Each age group will have between 60 and 70 players who make the list. Coaches will take inputs from performance rankings and observations on the field days along with other inputs surrounding talent such as rep footy, league and club best and fairest.

In the end, the selection with be a best-effort contribution from volunteer coaches who are doing their best they can do, given the limited time to assess and take inputs. They will get the list largely correct. Undoubtedly there will be strong opinion about players who made the list over those who did not. This debate has been a feature of every talent group assembled at every level of sport including football for all time.

In the end all you can do is trust the process and accept the decision.



The program will begin in April and go through to June

Training Nights

Monday evenings

Under 13 Girls/Under 13 Boys  (born 2007)

Under 14 Girls (born 2006)

Under 15 Girls (born 2005/6)

Wednesday evenings

Under 14 Boys

Under 15 Boys