Adam Goodes says retention is considered one of the biggest issues by the game's indigenous players. Photo: Getty Images
THE AFL's leading indigenous players will push for clubs to appoint indigenous welfare officers, as part of a plan to improve the retention of Aboriginal talent.
The indigenous player advisory board will encourage clubs to communicate more clearly with the communities from which they recruit young talent, as part of a standard, league-wide professional development policy they will present to them.
The advisory board, led by Adam Goodes, formulated the policy framework during last week's indigenous player camp in Alice Springs after taking feedback from the 60 players present on what their clubs did well.
Goodes said retention was considered one of the biggest issues by the game's indigenous players, and that West Coast's appointment of former player Phil Narkle as an indigenous liaison officer had shown other clubs what was possible.
''What we're finding is that all clubs do at least one thing well in terms of trying to keep players in the game, so we want to take all of those good points and share them with other player and other clubs,'' Goodes said.
''West Coast and Phil Narkle are doing a fantastic job and we're definitely looking to push every other club to involve people in positions like that, because what they're doing is working.
''We don't want to see indigenous players go out of the game before they have to and we want to get the best out of them while they're there. It's something that's become a big focus point for us.''
The indigenous advisory board was formed at the AFL Players Association's indigenous player camp two years ago, with Shaun Burgoyne, Aaron Davey, Graham Johncock, Nathan Lovett-Murray, Jarrod Harbrow and new additions Lance Franklin, Paddy Ryder and Michael Johnson working alongside Goodes.
AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis said players had shared ideas on how clubs could best manage the induction and transition, personal support, education and career development of indigenous players, as well as better educate the communities they had left to join their clubs. ''We talk about players transitioning in, but one point the guys made was, what are the resources provided back to a community when a player is drafted?'' he said.
''What they're asking is, how can clubs better communicate with the community about what the demands will be on their brother, cousin, son, mate, once they're in the AFL system, and educate them on what they can do to help support him.''
Finnis said the policy would be presented to all clubs to ''shine a light on what the players themselves see as issues'' and in doing so promote longer careers. ''We're not going to judge clubs or say 'these are the minimum standards', but we do think we can set some basic benchmarks,'' he said. ''We're trying to say 'this is the best possible practice' by tying together all the things that the individual clubs do well.''