Sydney Academy coach Jared Crouch says the program is lacking resources and has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Swans currently have an abundance of talent on their list thanks to the Academy, including the likes of Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, Nick Blakey, Sam Wicks, James Bell and recent additions Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden.
The system has its critics in Victoria, chiefly former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who believes it is an unfair advantage.
However, Crouch feels comments like that are “uneducated” and adds that the Academy is not producing enough players because they are so under-resourced.
“The big thing for everyone in Melbourne to understand is that I don’t actually believe we’re doing a good enough job,” Crouch told SEN’s The Sporting Capital.
“We’re not doing a good enough job because we’re not producing enough (players) and we do not have enough resources.
“COVID has hit us hard. Tadhg Kennelly is no longer involved in football, Lloyd Perris who was coaching, no longer involved in football.
“I cannot afford to lose that knowledge. That is one of the great challenges.
“The other thing, even when these boys get opportunities to get showcased, the recruiters’ job to actually properly watch the games and put them up against players, you can’t do it unless we get a proper full season where the Swans Academy are playing 15 games in the NAB League.
“That’s all coming down to resources and everything like that. It does frustrate me a lot that it is an easy target without anyone coming and walking in my shoes and understanding how hard we have to work to get one player.
“We had two last year, the year before we had no one, and it’s an enormous amount of work from people who are passionate about the game up here to try and develop and give young boys and girls a tiny smidgen of what I had growing up in Adelaide.
“It’s challenging and it is frustrating with all the uneducated talk going on.”
Crouch explained that one of the big issues with developing young players in New South Wales is that the parents of these kids have never played the game before.
“We do not have generational knowledge. We do not have people who have played this great game, their parents, their grandparents have never played the game,” the premiership Swan said.
“Of the Academy kids, probably 75 per cent of them their parents have never played the game.
“We are starting from an incredibly low base. Of the thousands of kids that come through, less than 1 per cent make it into the AFL.”
Crouch played 223 games for the Swans and was part of their 2005 premiership victory.