Irish AFL players attend 2012 AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne
Two Irish AFL players have headed Down Under for their chance to take on Australia’s next generation of AFL talent in the NAB 2012 AFL Draft Combine.
Ahead of the upcoming live AFL match in London at Kia Oval on 3 November, where Port Adelaide is set to take on the Western Bulldogs in the European Challenge, it seems many in Europe are experiencing a flush of aussie rules football fever.
For European fans at least, this may just have a little something to do with the inclusion of two Irish AFL players, Emmett Bradley from Derry and Sean Hurley from Kildare, in the NAB 2012 AFL Draft Combine held at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne from 2-5 October.
The Draft Combine (formerly the Draft Camp) is said to be the ultimate test for young footballers aspiring to be picked in November’s 2012 NAB AFL Draft, to be held Thursday 22 November on the Gold Coast.
All players face rigorous testing and fierce competition in their battle to present their case for inclusion on an AFL list. With the inclusion of both Bradley and Hurley, Ireland now make up 20% of the 10 strong international contingent, alongside players from the USA, PNG, New Zealand, Ireland, Nauru and China. However, the odds are significantly lengthened when measured against the hundreds strong home-grown contingent also vying for attention.
Bradley and Hurley made the cut after being selected from an International Combine held at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin in February. The testing they experienced there may have served them well when faced with the four day program of physical, medical psychological, psychomotor and skills tests of the Draft Combine.
AFL National and International Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan acknowledges the growing importance of sourcing talent internationally.
“It’s a glimpse into the future of the AFL to see 10 internationals in amongst the best talent from around Australia.”
Photo: Tadhg Kennelly with the Irish Draft Combine players Emmett Bradley (#111) and Sean Hurley (#112). AFL Media.