AFL Northern Territory is delighted that four members and the coach of its AFL Inclusion national championship-winning team have been selected for the 2019 Inclusion All-Australian squad and will travel to Brisbane later this year for the INAS Global Games.
NT captain Byron Mayo leads the charges, earning his third straight call-up to the All-Australian squad after the defender rallied his troops superbly all week. Joining him, and for his second year in a row, is silky midfielder Peter Apuatimi from the Tiwi Islands.
Aaron Knight-Nilsson, who was a stalwart in defence for the Territory at last week's Carnival, earned his spot off the back of only his first outing for the NT inclusion side. Meanwhile, Travis Baxter-Althouse was in his second year with the team and after kicking the most goals for Thunder this Carnival, including a four-goal haul against Vic Metro in Round 1, is a deserving addition to the All-Australian squad.
Nick Eades, who has been instrumental in driving AFLNT's inclusion program and has fulfilled head coaching duties for the three years that the team has existed, was duly recognised for his work and earned one of the two available coaching positions.
Eades said it was a great honour for the five selected.
"National recognition and selection in the All-Australian squad top off what was a fantastic carnival for the NT.
"Any of our boys would've been deserving of the honour, but it's great to have Aaron, Byron, Peter and Travis all recognised for their consistent performances.
"I am truly humbled to have been appointed as one of the two coaches that will lead a side in the exhibition match at the INIS Global Games," he said.
The squad of 26 men was chosen based on each player’s demonstration of the AFL’s values, that being Play to Win, Play Fair, Play with Passion and Play as One Team.
For the first time, the All-Australian squad will travel to Brisbane to take part in an exhibition match at the 2019 INAS Global Games in October.
Held every four years, the INAS Global Games is the largest sporting event for elite athletes with intellectual disability, with more than 1,000 athletes from across the world set to take part in the event this year.
The All-Australian squad will be divided into two teams of 13 and play against each other in a feature match which will provide them with an opportunity to showcase their talent on a global stage.
AFL General Manager Game Development, Andrew Dillon congratulated each player selected in the AFL Inclusion All-Australian squad following another successful National Inclusion Carnival.
“The 2019 AFL National Inclusion Carnival was another terrific event which provided the nation’s top footballers with the opportunity to showcase their skills, in what was a week of highlights both on and off the field.
“Each player selected in the All-Australian squad performed consistently across the entire Carnival and fully deserves their position in the team,” Mr Dillon said.
“I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate each of the participants, coaches, umpires and volunteers who did an outstanding job throughout Carnival, which was no doubt a memorable occasion for all involved.”
The annual AFL National Inclusion Carnival brings together male footballers aged 16 years and over with an intellectual disability from across the country to take part in a week-long carnival with teams representing the Northern Territory, NSW/ACT, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria Country, Victoria Metro, and Western Australia.
After a lightning competition and three-round series, it was the Northern Territory that claimed the Division 1 premiership with a win over Vic Metro. It was only the third time the NT had entered a team into the national carnival.