GWS Secures Tasmanian Talent
Victor P Taffa
Team GWS has today welcomed talented midfielder Sam Darley to the club, with the young Tasmanian signing on to join GWS for the next three years.
Darley becomes the second 17 year old to be priority listed by the club for 2011. Under the list concession afforded to GWS, the club is able to select up to a dozen players born between January and April 1993.
A member of the AIS AFL Academy squad, Darley, 185 cm and 73 kg, has had in impressive season starring for North Hobart in the Tasmania State League, earning him valuable experience against older bigger bodied opponents.
His performance for Tasmania in the recent under-18’s national carnival saw Darley awarded the Hunter-Harrison Medal as the best player in division two and subsequently earned himself selection in the All Australian side, along with fellow GWS recruits Josh Bruce and Anthony Miles.
Darley travelled to Sydney last week to meet with GWS officials and said that he was excited about the challenge ahead and couldn’t wait to make the move north.
“It’s a massive honour to be asked to join Team GWS. To play for an AFL club is a dream I’ve had since I was just three years old. It’s surreal that it’s actually happening.”
“I guess the biggest benefits for me are the number of opportunities that I’m going to be presented with by being part of this start up club. With so many young players coming through together and with the amazing facilities and staff that are put in place to support you, the next few years are going to be really exciting.”
“I made a lot of great friends through the AIS AFL Academy program, particularly through the tour. To possibly have some of my close mates here with me as we go through this next stage together is really comforting.”
“I’ve been a Bombers fan since I was very young. I just can’t believe that now I get run out next year with Kevin Sheedy as my coach. It’s something that I am really proud of, I can’t believe that all my hard work has put me in this position.”
Travelling with the AIS AFL Academy squad earlier this year, Darley impressed GWS recruiters from the outset with Head Coach Kevin Sheedy praising the midfielder’s skills and leadership.
“He’s a really smooth running midfielder, he sets up the play beautifully and carries the ball well. From our view he is one of the elite midfielders that we want to develop within our club at that age.”
“I really enjoyed getting to know Sam in South Africa. It’s great to see a young man mature on a trip like that. It was a wonderful experience for all of us.”
“Sam’s had the benefit of playing senior footy the last few years and that has started to show. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop in the next few years. It’s going to be an exciting time for all of us at the club.”
AIS AFL Academy Coach Jason McCartney congratulated Sam on joining GWS.
“Sam’s a very promising young prospect who has consistently delivered over the past twelve months at National Championships and at AIS level. He rarely fumbles and has elite kicking skills which are important attributes in the modern game.”
“The opportunity to join GWS is perfect for Sam. He is certainly ready to embark on an AFL career and I think it will be really beneficial for him that he doesn’t have to wait that extra year. I think he’ll thrive in the elite training environment.”
“Sam has some outstanding leadership qualities and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops with GWS. I wish him all the best.”
Darley is currently in year 11 at Guilford Young College, but will relocate to Sydney later this year to finish his schooling in 2011 at Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown.
Team GWS has now signed 10 players to its inaugural 2012 AFL list, with Darley joining Victorian Tim Golds, Canberra’s Josh Bruce, Southern NSW recruits Kurt Aylett, Sam Schulz, Anthony Miles and Mark Whiley along with NT duo Shaun Edwards and Curtly Hampton and NRL star Israel Folau.