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Tuesday, 18 February 2014
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : SYDNEY SWANS SLAMS CLAIMS TEAM IS UNWILLING TO DRAFT BLACK PLAYERS : TRUE OR FALSE ?
Sydney Swans slam claims team is unwilling to draft BLACK PLAYERS :
Dayle Garlett in action for WA during the 2012 NAB AFL under-18 championship against Vic Metro.Source: Supplied
SYDNEY Swans recruiting manager Kinnear Beatson has hit back at explosive allegations that AFL clubs are ill-prepared and increasingly unwilling to draft indigenous players.
Former Fremantle recruiting boss Phil Smart re-ignited the AFL's simmering race row with bold claims that clubs were unfairly discounting indigenous draft hopefuls because of off-field issues.
In a blunt attack, Smart said AFL clubs did not have a good handle on recruiting indigenous players and described modern-day recruiting strategies as sterile, after only three indigenous players were drafted on Thursday night.
"If they're not prepared to take a risk with some of these young talented indigenous players because Swan Districts has dropped Dayle Garlett a couple of times for being late to training, I think it is appalling,'' Smart said.
"The photo that was in the West Australian - of him having a drink and a cigarette on the back page of the paper on the day of the draft was appalling.
"Just go to any AFL club's Mad Monday, and you would find the same thing.''
Smart said part of the problem was there were no indigenous people among full-time recruiting staff at AFL clubs.
But Beatson defended the Swans' recruiting philosophies, saying the colour of a draft prospect's skin was irrelevant to the club's recruiting choices.
Beatson said clubs had to be diligent about draft prospects' character and off-field aptitude, regardless of race.
"It's not an indigenous issue,'' Beatson said. "The issue is whether the player has got the discipline and work ethic to succeed at AFL level.
"The colour of their skin is immaterial to us.
"I can tell you four or five players that we wouldn't have taken for similar (off-field) reasons whose skin was white. One got drafted, the others didn't.
"I'd back it with my life the reason the others weren't drafted was the concern about work ethic and concern about their ability to meet requirements at AFL level.''
Asked on 3AW whether it was a race-based issue, Smart said: "I have no doubt it is. None at all.''
Smart has mentored some of the AFL's leading indigenous talents, including Garlett, since leaving Fremantle to join WAFL club Swan Districts.
Smart said clubs were guilty of over-analysing indigenous players' backgrounds without appropriate resources.
"I don't really think a lot of the clubs have really got a good handle on some of the indigenous players,'' he said.
"Not just Dayle Garlett. Shannon Taylor from Claremont Football Club, how he never got drafted amazes me.''
Smart said he believed clubs were more open to drafting non-indigenous players with off-field troubles than indigenous prospects with similar issues.
"I would say there would be many players that are non-indigenous that have had the same issues that have been drafted and ... I think