AAP AFL

Raise the AFL draft age: SA under-18 coach

By AAP Newswire

The AFL's minimum draft age should be lifted to 19-years-old, according to South Australia's under-18 coach.

Tony Bamford says players risk falling through the system if the current minimum age of 18 remains.

"It's just the late developer, the guy who really blossoms in their under-18 year ... they're the ones who would be flicked from the system," Bamford told SEN SA radio on Thursday.

This year's under-18 national carnival is unlikely to proceed, and all under-age competitions put on hold, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It leaves some players unable to push their cases to be drafted in November.

AFL rules stipulate players must be at least 18 on December 31 in the year they are drafted to be eligible for selection by AFL clubs.

"I honestly think lifting the draft age would be a good thing," Bamford said.

"I think under-19 is a better age.

"They are just more mature and they have got some life skills outside of school before they go into what is an absolutely cut-throat industry and environment.

"I just feel the guys that don't make it at AFL level are better equipped on the exit point than the guys who go in straight from school.

"I've spoken to the AFL ... I feel this is a good time to try and see where it takes our game."