Open Universities Australia is expanding on their partnership with the AFL to proudly support under-18 competition.

Under-18 football is entering a renaissance in 2019 with a renewed focus on nurturing the future leaders of AFL via the introduction of the NAB League.

Australia’s leading destination for online higher education, Open Universities Australia (OUA), will be expanding on their partnership with the AFL to proudly support this new phase in the under-18 competition, which will focus on providing additional support and growth opportunities to players within the League teams.

With more than half of AFL draftees in 2018 coming directly across from the under-18 competition (boys 62%; girls 59%), a stronger emphasis on education and leadership skills will be implemented from the get go, helping to prepare players for a professional career in football, as well as laying down a foundation for those who don’t get drafted.

Grassroots community engagement lies at the heart of the under-18 competition, with hundreds of clubs based in regional areas. OUA’s Executive General Manager for Partnerships, Janine Harper, says that the AFL’s commitment to fostering potential within the community seamlessly aligns with OUA’s goals.

‘Ever since the inception of OUA more than 25 years ago our core belief has been that good education has the power to transform the lives of people, their families and their communities, so we are very proud to be expanding on our long-standing partnership with the AFL to support young football players in realising their potential as future leaders,’ says Ms Harper.

OUA commenced a partnership with the AFL Players’ Association in 2010, with dozens of players seizing the opportunity to balance their football careers with study since the partnership began.

‘We recognise the challenges of combining sport with study, so partnering with the AFL to provide access to online education has helped a lot of players keen to lay down the foundations for life after football,’ says Ms Harper.

‘We’re very excited to now be extending on the partnership to help support under-18 players at the grassroots level,’ Ms Harper concludes.

In 2019 The Tasmanian Devils will join the League, with an Academy Series featuring five northern squads participating in the lead up to the NAB AFL under-18 championships.

The NAB League girls’ competition begins on March 2 with the boys to start March 23.

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