Derry minor star, Callum Brown is the latest Irish youth to join the AFL after signing with the Great Western Sydney Giants.
The 18-year-old was identified by the GIANTS’ Irish scouting program in July 2017 and undertook a 12-month trial process with the club. He flew to Australia in August to spend two weeks training with the Giants under the eye of coach Leon Cameron.
In a statement on their website, the club described Brown as “a tall, skilful and athletic prospect.”
Our first #AFL Irish recruit has quite the skill set at his disposal!
See what coach @GWSLeon had to say about our newest rookie and check out some of his impressive highlights.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) October 25, 2018
Giants List Manager Jason McCartney said Brown showed plenty of promise.
“Callum really impressed when he spent time at the club earlier this year,” McCartney said.
“He’s an incredibly athletic and skillful player and showed an ability to pick up the nuances of AFL footy during some intensive training sessions.”
“We know it takes some time to adapt to our game and we won’t put any pressure on him but as an 18-year-old, he’s a really exciting prospect.”
Brown will move to Australia next month to begin training with the first-to-fourth year players when they return to the club on November 19.
Irish players can be signed directly to a club’s Rookie List under the International Player Rule and do not have to go through the draft.
He was an integral part of the Derry team that reached the All Ireland final in 2017 where they were beaten by a David Clifford-inspired Kerry.
Just last week, Munster U-20 Player of the Year, Stefan Okunbor, joined the Geelong Cats on a two-year rookie contract. Former Kerry minor footballer Mark O’Connor has already impressed at Geelong after joining on a category B rookie contract in October 2016. He made his senior debut for the club last season.
Other Irish players to join the AFL in recent months are, James Madden (Dublin) who signed for Brisbane, and Mark Keane (Cork) and Anton Tohill (Derry) who both joined Collingwood.