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SA, WA clubs get indigenous, multicultural zones

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GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: Sam Petrevski-Seton of Western Australia in action during the 2015 AFL Under 18 match between Vic Metro and Western Australia at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Kimberley region player Sam Petrevski-Seton is a likely top-10 selection this season

SOUTH Australian and West Australian clubs have been allocated their indigenous and multicultural recruiting zones by the AFL as the League continues to establish its 'Next Generation' academies.

Since announcing the Victorian clubs' academy zones in February, the AFL has been working with Fremantle, West Coast, Port Adelaide and Adelaide to fairly separate the South Australian and West Australian zones.

On Tuesday the League announced the regions each club has won, with all clubs to have access to talent from metropolitan and regional areas.

Under the rules, for a club to be eligible to access a prospect at draft age, the player must have fully participated in the club's academy program for a minimum of three years before being drafted.

Players of Asian or African heritage (who were born in an Asian or African country or have at least one parent born in an Asian or African country) will be automatically able to join a club under bidding rules.

"It is important to note that hubs have been established on the basis of multicultural populations in each state," the AFL's football operations manager Mark Evans said.

"While boys and girls from all backgrounds will participate in the academies, clubs will only receive draft concessions for players who are under-represented in the AFL."

The WA clubs will divide the WAFL club regions and also have a slice of remote areas of the state, while the South Australian clubs will split the SANFL club areas as well as regional indigenous zones.

The Dockers have been given access to the Kimberley region, which is likely to produce a top-10 pick this year in silky midfielder Sam Petrevski-Seton, who hails from Halls Creek.

Fremantle will not be able to get priority access to Petrevski-Seton this year but would be able to attract talent from that region in future years.

Western Australia had a bleak year in 2015, having just 12 players selected across the national and rookie drafts. Only three under-18s players from WA were added to senior lists last year, showing the lack of depth in its draft crop.

The AFL hopes the introduction of the community hubs and regional involvement will boost the draft numbers for its traditional football heartland.

"We certainly have noticed a change in where our draftees come from. New South Wales and Queensland have done a terrific job in growing the base there and it has challenged some of the traditional states about their talent programs," Evans said.

"It's difficult out there; we need to make it as easy as possible for parents and kids to get involved in the sport initially.

"Traditional football states have had to look at all of the different offerings for kids, and all of the other attractions that take kids away from sport. But the one thing we can't dismiss is the strength of the Australian game, and the tie-ins to communities.

"A good community club becomes the heartbeat of that community, and we know that there's no better place for kids to be than in and around their football club. It's healthy and it connects people like nothing else in this country."

AFL Next Generation Club Academy zones
(Clubs will have access only to multicultural talent, not indigenous players, in their metropolitan zones) 

West Coast
Metropolitan – East Perth, Perth, Swan Districts, Subiaco
Regional – South West (90 per cent), Midlands, Great Southern, Goldfields
* The Eagles will also have access to indigenous players in the Pilbara region

Fremantle
Metropolitan – East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, West Perth, Claremont
Regional – Midwest, South West (10 per cent), Wheatbelt
* The Dockers will also have access to players from the Kimberley region

Adelaide
Metropolitan – Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt
Regional – North Adelaide country zone (Northern), Woodville-West Torrens country zone, APY Lands – East (Kenmore, Fregon, Mimili and Indulkana)

Port Adelaide
Metropolitan – Norwood, Woodville-West Torrens, South Adelaide, West Adelaide
Regional – Woodville-West Torrens country zone (Yorke Peninsula), Woodville-West Torrens country zone, APY Lands – West (Ernabella, Amata, Murputja and Pipalyatjara)