SYDNEY Swans youngster Jordan Foote could be the poster boy for the changing face of the footy codes in New South Wales.
Foote became the Swans' seventh first-gamer for the season in last week's win over Carlton, joining Callum Mills and Jack Hiscox as players raised in metropolitan Sydney to come through the club's academy system and make his debut in 2016.
The 20-year-old also added his name to the list of sporting alumni to crack the big time from Marcellin College, a systemic Catholic college in Sydney's eastern suburbs – the first to do it in the AFL.
Foote's name will now go up on the honour board at Marcellin alongside South Sydney premiership captain John Sutton, NSW and Australia rugby league representative Braith Anasta, and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
Marcellin College doesn't have a full time Australian football program, but Foote told AFL.com.au he was hoping to see that change in the future, and said the Swans academy would mean more and more kids would start playing the game in Sydney.
"They've started introducing more Aussie rules at Marcellin – it's definitely not on the same level as rugby league, but at least it's starting to get a bit of exposure," he said.
"Rugby league still dominates in New South Wales, but Aussie rules is starting to make its move.
"Programs like the Swans academy give blokes a chance to train and play with the best players around NSW and develop their skills away from club footy.
"I was lucky enough to have some really good coaches in the academy like Paul Roos, Chris Smith and Michael O'Loughlin, so the academy was huge for me."
Marcellin head of sport Luke McNamara told AFL.com.au that Foote's achievements were special given he was playing both rugby league and Australian football until he was 16.
"To see him plying his trade in another sport so successfully is impressive," he said.
"I suppose it's stepping outside the box a little bit, but it says a bit about his commitment and obvious talent that he's taken it to the top level.
"It's gotten plenty of recognition at the school, we're certainly proud of him."
McNamara confirmed that rugby league was still the school's most popular code, but said that over the past few years the number of students wanting to play Aussie rules had increased significantly.
At present, Marcellin offers students the chance to play the sport in knockout competitions like the Swans Cup, but club footy was still their best chance to participate regularly.
"Rugby league has been the dominant footy code at Marcellin (College) for as long as the school has been around, but it's good to see more interest in Aussie rules filtering through," McNamara said.
"We're definitely getting more enquiries from kids, but also from parents asking about what opportunities there are for our boys to play the sport.
"We're conscious of that, and we're trying to explore more opportunities for the boys to play, but it's hard finding space in an already busy sporting calendar without having a detrimental effect on other sports."