In late 2017, the St Kilda Football Club (St Kilda FC) and the South Metro Junior Football League
signed an agreement to partner on a single development and high potential pathway program in the SMJFL region.
This year, St Kilda FC’s Next Generation Academy (NGA) for 11 to 15 years in age will again partner with the SMJFL’s Interleague Program, also known as the AFL VIC Junior Metro Development Series (AVJMDS)
This exciting partnership will see AFL expertise collaborating with the existing interleague program to provide SMJFL players the highest level of coaching and personal development in their journey as a player.
The St Kilda FC’s NGA will be the sole pathway program for SMJFL players 11 to 15 years of age to participate in, in the region.
A transition to the SMJFL Coates Talent League club partners – Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers and Dandenong Stingrays – will commence at the completion of the U15 Interleague program.
The purpose of St Kilda FC’s NGA is to identify and develop high potential players – both male and female and will have a focus on players with Indigenous and multicultural heritage from ages 11-18. St Kilda FC’s NGA region covers a large area from Port Melbourne to Frankston. SMJFL are within the northern part of the region, known as the ‘Northern Hub’ with the remaining region known as the ‘Southern Hub’. St Kilda FC have been given the responsibility by AFL Victoria to oversee the programs from 11-18 in the region and will work with SMJFL to deliver its Interleague program (ages 11-15), and Coates Talent League Clubs (ages 16-18).
Prior to 2018, SMJFL operated the Intraleague Under 12 programs as well as the Interleague program for Under 13 through to Under 15’s with great success. Coates Talent League clubs have previously operated their own Under 14 and 15 development programs at the completion of Interleague each year. The St Kilda FC NGA collaboration with the SMJFL Interleague replaced the Coates League U14 and U15 programs and is the only high potential development pathway program in the region.
At the end of the Under 15 program players are recruited to Coates Talent League programs based on their residential address, in the SMJFL region this is predominantly the Sandringham Dragons, however a small number of SMJFL players will be in the Oakleigh Chargers or Dandenong Stingrays zones.
The player Junior Pathway graphic demonstrates the new pathway for SMJFL players dependant on age group. St Kilda FC NGA players in the Under 14 or 15 programs may be selected to represent SMJFL at AFL Victoria’s annual Junior Metro Development Series. This selection is a fantastic opportunity to compete against peers from other leagues. A high percentage of SMJFL players competing in interleague have been successful in being selected into Coates Talent League club programs as a pathway to being drafted to the AFL and AFLW.
UNDER 12's BOYS & GIRLS
UNDER 13's BOYS & GIRLS
An 8-week program focused on fundamental skills and off-field development. The program begins in June, concluding in August.
A free four-week program that offers both girls and boys exposure to additional coaching and skill development.
SMJFL clubs can nominate two players each – boys (2) and girls (2). At the completion of the 4-week program, players will participate in an Intraleague representative match – SMJFL players vs SMJFL players. This match is known as the “Community Cup” and is sponsored by both St Kilda FC. The U12 program begins in August and concludes with the “Community Cup” at the beginning of September.
UNDER 14 BOYS & GIRLS
A 14-week program commencing in February providing participants the opportunity to develop their football skills, training ethics and off-field skills as well as providing insight into playing representative football.
After 10 sessions, approximately 50 players will be selected to play in the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships played over the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June. Players not selected for the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships will continue to train in the NGA program working on fundamental skills and off-field development.
UNDER 15 BOYS & GIRLS
A 14-week program, for both boys and girls commencing in February providing participants the opportunity to develop their football skills, training ethics and off-field skills as well as providing
insight into playing representative football.
After 10 sessions, approximately 50 players will be selected to play in the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships played over the King’s Birthday weekend in June. Players not selected for the AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships will continue to train in the NGA program working on fundamental skills and off-field development.
Selected players will be invited to participate in a Coates Talent League transition program after their team has finished with SMJFL commitments.
Full training dates and times for each age group can be found here.