FORMER Essendon vice-captain Mark McVeigh has taken another step forward in his budding coaching career after being appointed to head the Greater Western Sydney Academy.
It is a return to McVeigh's old stamping ground, having grown up on the NSW Central Coast and played for Pennant Hills in Sydney's west before he was drafted in 1998.
The brother of Sydney Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh, Mark played 232 games for the Bombers before retiring in 2012.
He has been working at AFL NSW/ACT as a talent and coaching manager for the Sydney North region and now replaces Lachlan Buszard, who is moving home to Melbourne after filling the position for three years.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to nurture young talent from the region through the Giants Academy," McVeigh said.
"As somebody who grew up playing AFL in NSW, I am passionate about giving kids an opportunity to pursue their dream to play the game at the highest level.
"We have already seen the talent produced in this region and I'm sure there will be a lot more in the years to come."
The Academy is a key pathway for young potential AFL players in the region and GWS chief executive Dave Matthews is confident McVeigh is the man to lead the program into the future.
He was also keen to praise Buszard, one of the Giants' first employees, for his contribution.
"Mark has been working with the Swans Academy in his role with the AFL NSW/ACT and we see him as a great fit for this important position," Matthews said.
"We will have about 500 players aged between 13 and 19 involved with the Academy next year and we are committed to continuing to develop young talent in our region across Western Sydney, Canberra and NSW.
"(Buszard) was one of the first employees of the Giants and has done a fantastic job to develop this program and oversee the transition of players like Zac Williams and Harry Cunningham into AFL ranks.
"We wish him and his family all the very best for the future."