Many AFL clubs have conflicting views on where best to source overseas talent to add as Category B Rookies. Some say to look in the US and find tall ruckman in the mould of Mason Cox and Jason Holmes. Others say look towards Africa after a promising batch of sudanese players have come through our system such as Allir Allir, Majak Daw and Mabior Chol.
Clubs are looking to add multicultural players at their club and the stories of some of the players on AFL lists can inspire many to achieve greatness.
AFL clubs this season were allocated zones for their Next Generation Academies and from 2018 will be able to tap into talent from these regions. In 2016, the AFL have judged that clubs have the ability to list multicultural players as Category B rookies if they are overlooked in the National or Rookie Draft from their allocated region
Matthew Grundy takes a look at a few of the multicultural players to look out for in the next few years.
Victoria have one of the strongest crops of multicultural talent with Dandenong exciting small forward Dan Allsop one to keep an eye on.
Allsop kicked 29 goals in 19 games this season, finishing runner-up in the TAC Cup Morrish Medal. The nippy forward is exciting to watch and is eligible to join Melbourne as a Category B rookie if undrafted in 2016.
Esava Ratugolea is an exciting tall prospect who has shown some potential after an injury interupted preseason. Ratugolea booted a bag of eight goals against Bendigo Pioneers in an eye-catching display earlier in the season. The Fijians performance saw him rushed into the Vic Country side for their final two games and will join Richmond if undrafted. With Ratugolea nominated for the National Combine, it does seem unlikely that he will be undrafted.
Changkuoth Jiath from Gippsland Power is a prospect for the 2017 draft and is a member of the AFL Academy Level 2 squad. He has shown a bit this year playing as a outside midfielder who can play forward if needed.
Calder Cannons midfielder Ben Ronke is one of a number of Cannons eligible to be drafted through the Category B pathway. Ronke has elite speed and has provided some highlights throughout the season winning plenty of the ball for the Cannons. Ronke played in St. Bernards VAFA premiership in 2015 and could find himself on an AFL list 15 months later with Essendon able to take him if he goes undrafted.
Teammates Muhammed Saad and Ovie Magbegor are also eligible. Saad is a classy small forward who kicked a bag of seven against Oakleigh Chargers this season. Magbegor has been offered a place over in the USA for basketball after impressing at recent tryouts. Should he decide to stay with AFL, Essendon will also likely take the tall ruckman.
In Western Australia a player to watch is Tarir Bayok. After a strong Under 18 Championships he has become one of the brightest multicultural players in the country. He is fast, agile and has great skills on both sides of his body. He has been nominated by West Coast this year.
South Australia have slim pickings but Emmanuel Irra is one of their better prospects. He has shown good form for the South Adelaide seniors playing off the wing, where he falls under the Port Adelaide region. Brother Robert is eligible next year, after representing South Australia in the Under 16 championships.
Norwood’s raw tall utility Ariek Lual is another that could join Port Adelaide later in the year.
Tony Olango is another player of multicultural background set to make his way into the AFL. After playing for Northern Territory and the Allies this year, the sudanese ruckman looks likely to be on an AFL list next year. From a soccer background, Olango is an athletic ruckman who has shown some ability up forward if needed.
The future of diversity in the AFL looks secure as the game becomes more accepting of other cultures. With more work to come with the multicultural academies, expect the pool of multicultural talent to grow as the academies in NSW/ACT and Queensland did.
Full list of 2016 Category B players eligible for AFL clubs:
2016 NEXT GENERATION ACADEMY NOMINATIONS LIST
Isiah Farrell-Nelson (Indigenous)
Aaron Tatchell (Indigenous), Ben Ronke (Multicultural), Muhammad Saad (Multicultural), Ovie Magbegor (Multicultural) , Hisham Kerbatieh (Multicultural), Ozgur Uysal (Multicultural)
Temoa Brown (Multicultural) , Cameron Gurrumulnga (Indigenous), Deshan Gindkindi (Indigenous) , Kamal Bukulatjpi (Indigenous)
Tristan Tweedie (Indigenous)
Daniel Allsop (Multicultural)
Emmanuel Irra (Multicultural), Ariek Lual (Multicultural)
Kayle Kirby (Indigenous), Billy Cooper (Indigenous), Esava Ratugolea (Multicultural) , Derek Smith (Indigenous), Jy Simpkin (Indigenous)
Mitchell McCarthy (Indigenous)
Tarir Bayok (Multicultural)
Dion Johnstone (Indigenous)
Mading Atem (Multicultural), James El Moussalli (Multicultural), Kenny Ong (Multicultural), Jai Rout (Indigenous), Darren Allen (Indigenous), Jamaine Jones (Indigenous), Thomas Jok (Multicultural), Goy Lok (Multicultural), Cedric Cox (Indigenous), Francis Watson (Indigenous)