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AFLW: Samartzis appointed national female talent manager

Sophia Samartzis is the AFL's new national female talent manager. Picture: Deakin University - AFLW
Sophia Samartzis is the AFL's new national female talent manager. Picture: Deakin University

THE AFL has expanded its women's talent pathways team, appointing well-regarded Geelong official Sophia Samartzis as national female talent manager.

Samartzis will oversee the female talent program, working alongside AFL Women's talent manager (and Geelong recruit) Aasta O'Connor.

O'Connor will continue to coach the NAB AFLW Academy squad, as she has done so for the past two years. She has effectively been combining two roles (managerial and coaching).

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Samartzis was Geelong's football operations manager in 2015 and has been the club's assistant general manager, working alongside Steve Hocking and now Simon Lloyd.

Her role will include overseeing state resourcing and managing the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships.

Samartzis will also be charged with implementing the new female under-16 club academies, which will see all 18 AFL clubs, as well as Tasmania and the Northern Territory, have their own development academies.

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The academies will feature eight-to-12-week programs for the best players in the age group.

Ten AFL clubs have AFLW licences, with an additional four (Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast) set to join the competition in 2020.

Essendon and Hawthorn have previously unsuccessfully applied for licences and have VFLW teams (with the Hawks winning the flag this year).

Port Adelaide has not previously applied due to the club's focus on China, while Sydney has said it will look to secure a licence in line with its move to a new training and administration base near the SCG.