Blues unveil father-son program in AFL

Former Carlton player Ryan Houlihan will head a revamped father-son academy at the AFL club.

The Blues have three potential father-son picks later this year and they hope to build on family connections of past players.

Former Carlton great Stephen Silvagni, now their list manager, has helped develop the academy.

His son Jack is one of the players who could join the Blues later this year under the AFL’s revised father-son bidding system.

Silvagni told the Herald Sun that he will not be involved when the club decides whether to draft Jack.

If he joins the Blues, he would be the third Silvagni to join the club.

Stephen’s father Sergio was also a Carlton player.

Craig Bradley’s son Jake and Bailey Rice, son of Dean, are the two other potential father-son picks for Carlton this year.

“Carlton’s father-son academy is about creating a sense of belonging,” Silvagni said in a club statement.

“We want to give kids an experience, offer them a support network and strengthen their connection to the football club their fathers have done so much for.

“We also hope to harness and develop talent, which could one day see the sons of past players don the old dark navy blue themselves.”

Silvagni added the new academy was the extension of a concept established at the club by Rod Ashman, another Blues great.

To qualify for the academy, boys must be aged 10-18 years and their fathers must have played at least 100 games for Carlton.

The name of the academy will change every five years to honour a past Carlton player.

The first player to be honoured is Peter Dean, whose son Harry is seven years old.

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