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Friday, April 19, 2024

Cats, Pies set to cash in on footy family ties

Mansfield, who also has Jai, 13, is one of a host of ex-Cats with multiple kids. Cameron Ling has two sons, Max (12) and Henry (9), as do Harry Taylor (James, 13 and Isabel, 11), Mooney, Steve Johnson, and Wojcinski. There is a sizeable cohort of Cat kids from the 2007-2011 super teams, with six players – the sons or daughters – aged 11 alone from that decorated group, including Max Ling, Miyah Hunt (Josh Hunt’s daughter), Archie Johnson (Stevie Johnson), Boh Enright (Corey’s son) and Isabel Taylor.

Sons and daughters of former Collingwood players. Note: Not all sons are eligible under father-son rules, as their father didn’t play 100 senior games.

Sons and daughters of former Collingwood players. Note: Not all sons are eligible under father-son rules, as their father didn’t play 100 senior games.

Collingwood have Oscar Lonie, the son of Ryan Lonie, starting as a bottom-age 17-year-old with the Dandenong Stingrays (draft eligible next year), Max Christian, son of the match review officer Michael Christian, in the under 16s at the Oakleigh Chargers (eligible 2026), Josh Fraser’s son Ted, also with Oakleigh’s under 16s but yet to turn 15 and over 190 cm already. There’s also Max and Marcus Rocca, both 14 and the sons of brothers Anthony and Saverio Rocca respectively.

Noah Caracella. While his father Blake played for three clubs, he is only father-son eligible for the Bombers.

Noah Caracella. While his father Blake played for three clubs, he is only father-son eligible for the Bombers.

The Jets have another 2024 draftable father-son in Kobe Williams, the son of Indigenous 2008 premiership Hawk forward and ex-Bomber Mark Williams. Kobe is available to Hawthorn and to the Bulldogs as a Next Generation Academy (NGA) recruit.

The rules governing access to father-sons and increasingly father-daughters (and eventually mother-sons and daughters) is subject to a review and likely reform this year. Clubs have pushed to remove the draft discount for the offspring, whose fathers have to play 100 games to be eligible for a club if they are male and just one game for daughters, as the AFL also grapples with the appropriate price that should be paid for northern academy players and NGAs.

Carlton are watching the rule review closely, given they are near-certain to pick the talented Camporeale twins, Ben and Lucas, in this year’s draft – seasoned recruiters have projected that the Camporeale brothers will both attract bids inside 25 this November.

Collingwood can draft two daughters in 2024, Violet Patterson – the daughter of Stephen Patterson – who is playing for Glenelg in South Australia, plus Tarkyn Lockyer’s daughter, Leni.

Tom McGuane is only about 178cm and slender in build, but, according to the Jets, has absorbed or inherited a fair slice of the footy nous and skills of his father.

River Stevens, son of former North Melbourne captain Anthony.

River Stevens, son of former North Melbourne captain Anthony.

The increasing prevalence of father and daughters in the AFL – and their influence on team fortunes – raises whether their success is driven more by nature or nurture, since the Daicii, Tom McGuane and River Stevens – an excellent prospect for North – have been marinated in footy culture since they could crawl and tuto.

The clubs can improve and hot-house their progeny by expert coaching, as evident at Collingwood, where Harmit Singh, who previously ran Essendon’s father son and NGA program (The James Hird Academy), heads up the Peter Daicos Academy that spawned Moore, the Daicos brothers and ex-NGA graduate Isaac Quaynor.

Singh said the program – available, like Geelong’s, to kids whose dads who played fewer than 100 games, involved 20 sessions of more than three hours during a year, and that the kids had access to fitness and conditioning expertise as well as skills coaching. Oscar Lonie, he said, was an example of a kid who had improved in the program, to the point that he was elevated to the Stingrays’ squad this year.

Clubs are well aware that recruitment is a numbers game and only a minority of footballers’ offspring are going to have professional careers.

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