AFLNT is pleased to announce that it is once again sending a strong contingent of local talent to the AFL National Diversity Championships in Sydney.
Forty-three young players identified from right across the Northern Territory will make up the two teams - the Kickstart Team (Indigenous) and All Nations (Multicultural) Team.
They will join more than 200 participants from Indigenous and Multicultural backgrounds to compete at the weeklong tournament. The event runs from Saturday 8 April to Thursday 13 April in Blacktown, NSW.
Names on the NT representative list include Rioli, Mu, Jeffrey, Long and Yunipingu.
Maurice Rioli Jnr is the son of Maurice Rioli, the late Richmond and South Fremantle champion who was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2016.
AFLNT has a proud history of producing players that have followed the AFLNT talent pathway to its peak.
NT players that have gone on in the AFL or National Academy Programs include, Willie Rioli Junior (West Coast Eagles), Nakia Cockatoo (Geelong), Brandan Parfitt (Geelong), Jake Long (Essendon) and currently Domonic Grant and Michael Mummery are in the National AFL Academy Program. All started with the Kickstart Program whilst Ryan Mu, Marcus Valastro, Nelson Sonntag, Nathan Mu and James Quinn (World Team) all had the opportunity to play at the highest level of the AFL Diversity Program.
This year’s contingent was selected via nominations from their local clubs and AFLNT Remote Project Managers.
The Kickstart Championships are 18-a-side games and the NT’s 2017 team will have the privilege of being coached by Darwin Buffaloes, Pioneers player and ex-AFL star Matthew Campbell and assistant coach Leith Waterbury.
The All Nations Championships are 15-a-side games and this year the NT side will be expertly coached for the third year by St Mary’s Football Club, Josh Heath who will be assisted by Hayden Rickard from Yirrkala.
AFLNT High Performance Manager, Wally Gallio said, “The Diversity Championships are an important pathway for our Diversity Programs, it provides talented participants for our Flying Boomerangs and World Team squads, umpires for AFLNT and AFL umpiring academies, and coaches for AFLNT/AFL coaching academy.
“The coaches will be mentored this year by former AFL premiership coach, Mark Williams in the ongoing growth of the AFL Indigenous and Multicultural Academies.
“We are given a unique opportunity to strengthen the AFL game with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.” Gallio said.
A full list of the players representing the NT in the Kickstart Team and All Nations Team is attached. All players have been training in their regional areas and Darwin-based players train each Wednesday afternoon at 4.30pm at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre.
For the full team list, click here.
2017 AFL National Diversity Championships Schedule:
Day One: Saturday April 8
6.00pm – 7.30pm: Opening Ceremony
Day Two: Sunday April 9
12.00pm – 1.00pm: Education Session: Talent Pathways