North Melbourne has landed its second Next Generation Academy (NGA) AFL recruit in as many years, with Matt McGuinness secured ahead of the Rookie Draft on Friday morning.
The 19-year-old missed out on being picked up in 2018, but according to North’s National Recruiting Manager, Mark Finnigan, he worked incredibly hard to realise his AFL dream.
“It’s a real credit to Matt, the Tassie Devils’ program and our NGA, which gives us exclusive access to players with Indigenous and Multicultural backgrounds,” Finnigan explained.
“Our NGA has allowed us the scope to pick Matt as a Category B Rookie and we’re delighted to have him at Arden St.
“We hope young boys and girls in Tasmania can now see the pathway from our NGA to elite football, with the likes of Tarryn, Mia King (AFLW) and now Matt, all playing at North Melbourne.
“With Michael Firrito recently appointed head coach of our NGA, we’re really excited to see what the future holds and hope more talented kids will join our NGA.”
McGuinness played for the Allies alongside Tarryn Thomas last year, and has plenty of upside.
“He’s an athletic, tall defender who showed great improvement this year, and was a strong performer in the NAB league as a 19-year-old,” Finnigan said.
“We feel there’s plenty of potential in him and development. It’s a great story of persistence and he really worked at his game to improve and put himself in a position to get on an AFL list.”
*If you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or have a multicultural background, and would like more information about our NGA program, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to visit the NGA Hub