When Crows Academies Next Generation Academy (NGA) graduate Leek Alleer made his SANFL debut for Central District in Round Seven, it was the culmination of many years of hard work.

Alleer’s dreams of being selected at the 2019 AFL Draft took a hit after he broke his leg on the eve of the season.

A long and challenging rehabilitation followed but the Crows continued to support and work with Alleer as an NGA player through a COVID-interrupted 2020 program.

He is continuing his football journey under the watchful eye of former Crows Development Coach and now Central District SANFL Senior Coach Paul Thomas.

Crows Academies Manager Jarrod Meers said Alleer made a huge impression on the AFL players, coaches and staff when he trained at the Club.

“Leek is an incredibly talented player with his overhead marking being his biggest weapon,” Meers said.

“When we established the Bridgestone Crows Academies NGA program five years ago it was very much about attracting, working with and retaining talented players to the game of AFL from cultural backgrounds underrepresented at the highest level.

“Although Leek hasn’t quite made it to the AFL yet, we are delighted that he has made his SANFL League debut and to see the NGA concept is working at many other levels other than just AFL”.

Alleer said making his league debut was both an honour and a dream come true.

“It’s been a long journey from playing my first game as a skinny ruck/forward in under-16, but I’ve enjoy every minute of it,” Alleer said.

“During my time in the Crows Academies NGA, I saw the professionalism it takes to work in an experienced football Club and I learned a lot about diet, craft/skill development session and the role of meditation.

“It was an opportunity that I appreciated, with plenty of learnings.”