It would have to be the promoter’s dream for AFL Cairns – a match that will feature four ex-Cairns players in the one match. Three on one team, one on the other. Fans from the northern Australian city know the game is coming north – just a little too far north. Shanghai, China, to be exact.
When the Gold Coast Suns run out onto Jiangwan Stadium on Saturday, mathematically, one seventh of the team (give or take) will hail from the Far North Queensland city. It is a city that has hosted premiership matches at Cazalys Stadium, as well as plenty of lesser games pre-season games prior to that. Along the way, local talent has threatened to make an impact, but this weekend will see the biggest representation of Cairns talent to date.
The names of Long, Rioli, Motlop, Davey and others have graced AFL lists for decades. Each year, players from the Northern Territory are making their way onto the biggest stage. Last year’s draft saw Zac Bailey from Southern Districts selected by the Brisbane Lions at Pick 15, whilst St Mary’s ruckman Tony Olango was grabbed by the West Coast Eagles at Pick 27 in the Rookie Draft.
The following AFL Northern Territory Press Release looks a four NT prospects as they set themselves for the 2018 FL National Draft in November.
Four NT standouts selected for national Allies squad
After a competitive showing at this year’s Under 18 Academy Series, four NT Thunder players have been chosen for the national Allies squad and will vie for the opportunity to play against the next crop of AFL draftees, while also putting themselves in contention for a spot on an AFL list.
The 2018 AFL National Diversity Championships wrapped up last week in Blacktown, Sydney, with Western Australia and Victoria taking home the silverware. The U15 Kickstart indigenous team from Western Australia won their eighth consecutive title to remain the only state team to have ever won the competition since its inception. Victoria held on in a dramatic All-Nations final for multicultural teams.
The Kickstart Championships came into being back in 2011 as an elite pathway for under 15 indigenous players from across Australia. With exposure to elite coaching, support and facilities, the competition augmented the national Under 16 championships. Western Australia has been the dominant force since the inception of the carnival in 2011, and last week’s result continued a proud tradition.
The All-Nations competition is an opportunity for players from diverse multicultural backgrounds to bring their talents to a state level and after humble beginnings as a modified game for players, it is now a fully-fledged competition in its own right.
The following is a media release from AFL Northern Territory announcing selections in the national Kickstart and World teams from the recent Diversity Championships in Sydney.
AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is pleased to announce that seven young Territorians were named in Flying Boomerangs and World Team squads to play two exhibition matches at the 2017 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships on the Gold Coast in July.
Selected by AFL Club recruiters following the 2018 AFL National Male Diversity Championships held in Blacktown, the respective squads of 25 young men has been chosen based on school attendance, leadership skills, and football ability.
The AFL Flying Boomerangs program is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men aged 14-16 years old, supported by Rio Tinto. Meanwhile the World Team is made up of the best upcoming AFL multicultural players from across the nation.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed two-time Grammy and Academy Award winner Melissa Etheridge who is currently on tour in Australia with Sheryl Crow. Melissa has been in the music industry for 30 years and she said, “I am still in love with performing. I am still in love with sharing music with an audience. I still love the travel, the getting to see people and getting to new places. The award - that’s all fine and good - but the real stuff is in the journey everyday. Writing new music, performing the old hits and just loving it all.
Image Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS
Lisa saw the coaching position advertised and knew she had something to offer in her unique background so she applied for the position, deciding it was a great opportunity to further her coaching career. Before long, Lisa found out she was the assistant coach from head coach Jane Lange in November. There were only a few insiders who knew before the announcement.
Visiting teams have learned this over the years – Cazalys Stadium in Cairns is wind affected. The howling southerly gales that travel up the valley from Innisfail heavily assist the northern end of the ground and make scoring at the other end difficult. Not so last night, with scoring heavily assisted by the tide rather than the wind.
(Picture: Jack Bowes leads the way for the Suns)
With Tropical Cyclone Nora nearing landfall at Kowanyama on western Cape York, and threatening coastal communities around the Gulf of Carpentaria, the cyclonic rain settled happily over Cairns. With freestyle and backstroke races an equally viable option on the Cazalys Stadium surface, the football went ahead as planned making a whole new spectacle that even the AFL hadn’t bargained on.
The opening centre bounce was wisely replaced by the opening ball-up, otherwise they’d have never found the ball again. However, from then on the Gold Coast Suns and North Melbourne Kangaroos sloshed it out in front of a very enthusiastic, albeit mostly bedraggled crowd. Those who braved the conditions should be commended, and they witnessed a hard slogging affair from two committed teams. During the first quarter, neither gave an inch and adapted relatively quickly to the conditions.
Western Bulldogs are the 2018 AFLW premiers, which was set up on the back of a strong superb second half of football played by the daughters of the west. It was heartbreaking for the Brisbane Lions who were unlucky again to go down in the AFLW Grand Final two years in a row. This grand final was a tale of two halves, as the Lions played a great first half of football and then were quiet in the second half where the Dogs became played dominant football in the premiership quarter. It was a very tough high intensity match of women’s football played by both teams this afternoon at a wet and slippery, Ikon Park.
The Far North Queensland city of Cairns is about to host a very special football match. The AFL Premiership season for 2018 starts this weekend across the nation and Cairns is in the exciting position of hosting one of the Round One fixtures with the Gold Coast Suns hosting the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Cazalys Stadium on Saturday evening.
With the Suns’ home at Metricon Stadium at Robina being seconded into the grand scheme of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the club has been forced to find options across the lands to play home fixtures. Cairns has been given the biggest, tastiest cherry of all with the honour of an opening round – traditionally one of the best attended rounds in a season with fans having endured their six month break from footy and desperate to get to a match.
In one of the most remarkable finishes to an NTFL grand-final, the Southern Districts Crocs have desperately held on by a solitary point to defeat the Darwin Buffaloes. It is the closest result in the NTFL Premier League since 2015/16 when St Mary’s held of Wanderers by two points. The previous occasions where a premiership was decided by just one point were in 1981/82 when Wanderers defeated St Mary’s and in 1971/72 and Saints downed the Buffaloes. A draw in 1932/33 was decided by a larger margin a week later when Waratah defeated Buffaloes.
The game looked to be on the way to being sealed by quarter time when the Crocs raced away with a seven goal to one term. Not to be denied, the Buffaloes charged back in the second quarter to bring the difference back to a goal by the main break.