Leading Locals was created by Nick Maxwell, Collingwood Captain, and Aaron Greaves, Geelong Falcons coach. After watching local players in the Geelong area, Maxwell and Greaves decided to put together a plan to find the best local talent and provide an opportunity for them to chase their dreams of becoming AFL players.
In October 2010, they launched the first Leading Locals camp. Sending out an invite to local players aged 16 - 27, 28 players joined the camp. It was held at the new $17 million Handbury Wellbeing Centre at Geelong Grammar, Corio. Every player was tested in the same areas as AFL draft camp - 3km time trial, Beep test, Nathan Buckley kicking test, 20m sprint, Agility test, Vertical jump, skinfolds, weight, height, etc.
Beyond this, there was also a focus on developing not just the player, but the person as well. The players were all also involved in information sessions and were educated by a nutritionist and specialists in the industry - Derek Hine, Head of Recruiting at Collingwood Football Club, Peter Lenton, Leading player manager, and representatives from Adidas and Musashi to name a few.
Attendees were also put through their paces in the weight room, learning the best ways to develop their strength for football performance.
Every players results were sent to all 17 AFL clubs as well as interested VFL clubs, with 7 AFL clubs represented in person at the camp by their recruiting staff. This provided the players with one on one meetings with club recruiters and began the process from local to potential elite players.
The camp was an overwhelming success, with Jye Bolton, a local player from the Leopold Football Club being drafted by Collingwood. Leading Locals also had Geelong Falcon Fraser Russell invited to train at St.Kilda as well as being contacted for video footage on several other players. Many players have now put themselves on club radars through their testing results, another step toward reaching their AFL dream.
In 2011, we are aiming to take Leading Locals to other states. To register your interest in a 2011 camp, click here.