American trio to train with Swans
Trio to work with Paul Roos after impressing at international combine
THREE American athletes will train with the Sydney Swans over the next two weeks in a bid to win a place on the club's international rookie list.
Jason Holmes, Mark Cisco and Patrick Mitchell – all more than 200cm tall – arrived in Australia last week and will spend the next fortnight working closely with the Swans Academy under premiership coach Paul Roos.
After that, rival clubs in the competition will get their chance to inspect the prospects and interview them over a week at the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships.
"It's an exciting and new venture for the AFL. These international players are trailblazers and if we could get a few across the competition we'd love to see how it can unfold," national talent manager Kevin Sheehan told AFL.com.au.
"It will never be a flood of players but a sprinkling of those for a specialist role, particularly in the ruck and maybe deep defence where their point of difference will be their size and athletic ability.
"We don't underestimate the ability of clubs to teach people the game in specific roles."
The success of Swans ruckman Mike Pyke (rated 273rd in the Official AFL Player Ratings
), a rugby convert from Canada who played a starring role in the Swans' premiership last year, has the club open to trawling the globe for more international recruits.
The Swans and AFL have invested in the program and will continue to help educate and teach the players during their time in the country.
Former Swans (and AIS-AFL Academy coaches) Michael O'Loughlin and Tadhg Kennelly will also take them for several skills sessions.
"There's a full-on program for them over the next number of weeks and we're hoping we can build something that is consistent in the years to come in giving fairly special athletes the chance to switch codes at this level," Sheehan said.
Holmes, 23, is 203cm and has a multi-sport background, including basketball, soccer, American football, baseball and golf. Holmes hails from Kentucky and has a brother who plays NFL.
21-year-old Cisco is enormous athlete, sized at 207cm and 115kg from Columbia University, New York.
Mitchell (201cm) is 23 and has previously played basketball, football and baseball, and is from North Dakota.
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey