Western Bulldogs National Recruiting Manager Dom Milesi says Next Generation Academies have served their purpose across the competition.
The Bulldogs were able to successfully match Adelaide’s bid for NGA prospect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan with the No.1 pick in the 2020 AFL Draft.
Ugle-Hagan is the last of his kind after the AFL altered the NGA rules so bids for priority access players inside the top 20 can’t be matched from next year.
“I understand where the AFL are coming from in terms of wanting to preserve the draft, particularly at the top end,” Milesi told SEN Mornings.
“But I think at the same time the Next Generation Academies have done a lot of really good work, not just with the Bulldogs, but across the competition.
“I think we’ve still got to try and promote those avenues for players from different backgrounds to give them more opportunities, so I think it’s about striking that balance going forward where we’re still giving those players that are new to the sport an opportunity to get into the system.”
Will the Dogs continue to invest in their Next Generation Academy in light of the AFL’s decision to ban bids on top NGA prospects?
“I can’t speak for every other club, but I know from our point of view we’re still very keen to invest in our regions with both the Rebels and the Western Jets,” Milesi said.
“I think we’ll still invest. To me, it’s all about giving players the chance and they might not up at your club, but hopefully they still go on and have a good AFL career.
“But if they do end up at the Western Bulldogs, that’s a bonus as well.”
Ugle-Hagan, 18, has been likened to Sydney superstar Lance Franklin and is the first Indigenous player to go at pick No.1 since Des Headland in 1998.