Todd Marshall will go into the AFL draft, highlighting the rift between GWS and rival clubs over the Giants’ lucrative Riverina zone.
The AFL announced on Wednesday that GWS could not secure the highly-rated key position player as one of their academy players in the draft.
Instead, the 198cm footballer and cricketer joins the draft talent pool in his first year of eligibility.
Marshall’s situation is unusual – he had focused on cricket previously and toured England last year in a NSW combined high schools team.
But he has decided to pursue an AFL career this year and is having a big impact in under-age competition.
The Giants sought to officially claim the Murray Bushrangers player, who is from Deniliquin, as a member of their Riverina talent academy.
Rival clubs are growing increasingly unhappy about the Giants’ recruiting zone, which takes in the talent-rich Riverina area.
“The decision by the AFL for Marshall to enter the draft was made in consultation with his family, and taking into consideration the individual circumstances surrounding Todd’s identification through the TAC Cup system,” the league said in a statement.
GWS are saying they missed out on Marshall because of an administrative issue – not because of what level of involvement they have had in his player development.
New Giants football manager Wayne Campbell admitted they were disappointed about the AFL’s decision.
He also speculated whether all their academy registration forms had been looked into as thoroughly as Marshall’s.
“It’s a point we made. There seems to have been some investigation into this one but we asked the question whether there had been as equal investigation into the other ones,” he told the AFL website.
“I think the response was that they hadn’t.
“This is absolutely a unique case, but the thing that we’re interested in is where this leads to.
“The Giants have complied with everything – you just hope this doesn’t open up avenues for other players to do the same.”
Campbell strongly defended the Giants talent academy, saying they had three full-time coaches and 50 part-time coaches looking after 650 junior players.
“We feel the academy gets unfairly maligned due to some top-end talent that pops out at the end,” he said.