Adelaide will have a new look SANFL development squad for the 2020 season, with three regular contributors earning full time SANFL contracts at other clubs.
State League coach Heath Younie said while it wasn’t ideal to lose players of their calibre, it was a positive reflection of the program.
“We are disappointed to lose those guys, they were strong contributors to our program, with Pierce and Jordan playing well in the finals and we felt Jy had great upside,” Younie said.
“But we are really excited for them to get the opportunity to go into a SANFL club full time.
“To provide them an alternative pathway back into the SANFL is one of the objectives of this program.
“This is one of the positive stories to come out of our season, that some guys have got opportunities they might not have if they hadn’t joined our program.”
The Crows have still been able to retain a core group of players that consistently played SANFL football in 2019, including the Dean Bailey medallist Matt Merrett, Hamish Latchford and James Mathews.
The development coaches – Younie, Paul Thomas, Brent Reilly and Matthew Wright – have also been recruiting young talent from country and local amateur leagues around the state.
Younie said he is pleased that players are now reaching out because they want to join the program.
“We’ve kept 15-20 guys from the 2019 program, and then we’ve been able to add, and I feel like we are a little bit stronger than last year in what we’ve been able to target,” Younie said.
“In what is a reflection of our development coaches in Brent, Paul and Matty, guys are ringing us to be part of our program.
“That is a real positive, they are seeing that some of the guys that had good seasons or got exposed to finals are now getting opportunities to go to other SANFL clubs.
“People are looking at this program and this pathway as a positive one.”
Development squad members will also have greater opportunities in 2020, with the SANFL recently increasing the size of the interchange bench to four players.
Overall, Younie was pleased with the rule changes.
“It allows our AFL players that are in the SANFL a closer alignment, so I am rapt with that,” he said.
“The four-player bench gives more people opportunities and for our specific program, gives a development player another opportunity which is only great for our pathway.
“I’m excited for what these changes will produce in 2020.”
Younie predicted almost 50 players would attend the club’s first development squad training session on Tuesday, November 19.
The squad will then be finalised in the new year.