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Grassroots AFL on the rise in Queensland

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 16: Sabrina Frederick-Traub interacts with kids during the AFLW Gold Coast open training session at Carrara on November 16, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Jason O'Brien/AFL Media)
We are incredibly pleased to partner with AFLQ staff on the Gold Coast and across North Queensland. Their teams boast dedicated staff who are passionate about the growth of our game.
GC SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans

The Gold Coast SUNS have praised the work of AFL Queensland following the release of participation numbers in the state.

Australian Football participation in Queensland and the Northern Rivers (NSW) has topped 250,000 for the first time, census figures released today by the AFL confirm.

Overall participation across all levels of the game jumped 10.21 per cent to a record 252,624 in 2017, in line with the national increase of 10.2 per cent.

AFL Queensland CEO Dean Warren welcomed the results, which showed significant spikes in key program and competition areas.

“Clubs are the key to connecting our game to local communities and to experience over six per cent growth across all age-groups is a great result for our leagues, clubs and volunteers,” said Mr Warren.

“Helping community clubs attract boys and girls to our game has been a priority for our staff in 2017, so to see take-up of our Roy’s Junior Football and Superstars Football our Under 6 Bridge Program increase by 57 per cent is phenomenal.”

Female participation also contributed to Queensland’s strong showing in 2017, with 100,000 women and girls engaging in programs and competitions and 70 new female teams formed.

“The introduction of the NAB AFL Women’s competition and success of the inaugural Brisbane Lions AFLW team is inspiring a new generation of girls and women who can now aspire to play at the highest level,” said Mr Warren.

GC SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans congratulated AFLQ on their continuous efforts to grow the game in Queensland.

“The release of the participation numbers in Queensland is an absolute credit to the work of Dean Warren and the team at AFLQ,” Evans said.

“We are incredibly pleased to partner with AFLQ staff on the Gold Coast and across North Queensland. Their teams boast dedicated staff who are passionate about the growth of our game.

“Here on the Gold Coast participation is up 26 percent year on year, and at a junior girls level alone we have seen the establishment of 15 new teams which highlights why we are so excited by the opportunity we have ahead of us in establishing our very own women’s team.”

“From a talent perspective we saw seven Gold Coast based girls and boys drafted to elite teams in 2017, while underage team’s really dominated the intra-state championships meaning AFL on the Gold Coast is in a really healthy position.”


Gold Coast Participation Highlights

  • 38,457 participants – 26% growth year on year
  • AFL Gold Coast Juniors  – 2,950 registered players, including 15 new youth girls teams
  • 144,321 promotional touchpoints across community and school promotions


  • Sunsets (girls) – Under 17 State Champions (3rdconsecutive year), Under 14’s undefeated
  • Boys – Under 16 2nd, Under 14’s Gold Coast North undefeated, Under 14’s Gold Coast South lost one game (to Gold Coast North)
  • Draft
    • AFLW – 4 players – Kalinda Howarth, Arianna Clarke, Ruby Blair, Molly Ritson (all to the Brisbane Lions)
    • AFL – 3 players – Brayden Crossley, Connor Nutting, Jacob Dawson (all to the Gold Coast SUNS) 

Female Football

  • Youth girls – 220 new players
  • Women’s – 2 new teams

2017 Queensland & Northern Rivers Participation Highlights

  • Overall participants – 252,624 (up 10.21 per cent)
  • Community club participants – 29,525 (up 6.2 per cent)
  • Senior community club participants – 8,045 (up 11.27 per cent)
  • AFL Queensland Schools Cup teams – 521 (up 102 teams)
  • Schools program participants – 144,173 (up 18.35%)
  • Roy’s Junior Footy & Superstars Under 6 Match Program participants – 1632 (up 57 per cent)
  • A 10.47 per cent growth in AFL9s
  • Accredited umpires – 1,234
  • Accredited coaches – 1,125

Female Participation

  • Total female participants – 100,841 (up 16 per cent)
  • New female community club teams – 70 (up 39 per cent)
  • Females now account for 39.9 per cent of all Queensland and Northern Rivers participants
  • Female NAB AFL Auskick participants – 8,526 (up four per cent)