Game Development

STAFF – Sean Hunter – Development Manager

Sean previously worked for AFL Cairns as Operations Manager for 6 years and has played and coached AFL since his school days. Passionate and professional, Sean is committed to delivering quality programs to communities in Far North Queensland.

STAFF – Joshua Hanlon – Development Coordinator

Josh Hanlon has lived and breathed AFL most of his life and enjoys working with young people to see them achieve their capacity both on and off the paddock.

The AFL Cape York Game Development Team is responsible for growing and developing Australian Football and striving to ensure the game of AFL is a way of life for every community.


Our story began in 1997 with an agreement between AFL National and Rio Tinto, funding $25,000 for the delivery of AFL Programs to the remote and isolated Indigenous communities of the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait, to encourage AFL participation.

The then Development Manager, Rick Hanlon, was responsible for the delivery of this program. In August 1998 he successfully established the inaugural AFL camp held in Weipa targeting boys between the ages of 14 – 16 years. Indigenous AFL stars Michael “Magic” McLean and Gilbert McAdam attended the three (3) day camp with participants hailing from communities throughout the Cape and Torres Strait. The camp was a great success, however, it was quickly identified, the need for ongoing AFL opportunities / pathways for boys, living in this region.

In 1997 the National AFL in conjunction with Rio Tinto Mining committed $25,000.00 to deliver AFL Programmes to remote and isolated Indigenous Communities of the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait to encourage AFL participation.

In August 1998 AFL Kickstart established the inaugural AFL camp held In Weipa targeting ages 14, 15 and 16 year old boys. Indigenous AFL stars Michael “Magic” McLean and Gilbert McAdam attended the three (3) day camp with participants hailing from communities throughout the Cape and Torres Strait, to attend. The camp was a success, however, ongoing opportunities for the boys were not yet available.

In October 1999 a 13-day tour of the region was undertaken, to evaluate the prospects of further advancing the Kickstart program and obtain a stronger understanding re logistics of the region. The trip consisted of visits to Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw, Lockhart River, Aurukun, Napranum, Lockhart River and Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Communities, Weipa and Cooktown. Following the success of the tour, community coordinators were engaged in each of these communities, which led to the inaugural primary schools AFL camp establish in November of that year.

In 1999/2000 AFL Queensland commissioned a review into programs delivered by AFL regional development staff. A recommendation made from this review was the need to place an Indigenous Development Officer to service the remote Indigenous communities of the region. The AFL agreed with the recommendation and Kickstart was on the road. AFL Cape York purchased a troop carrier and employed Mr Keith Sambo a well known Indigenous man who had done a lot of work on the Cape with Sport and Recreation and mentoring, Keith commenced work in April of 2000 and did an excellent job in servicing the communities in those early years.

The focus of the Kickstart program has changed considerably since those early community visits . Since those humbling beginnings the program has grown from not just encouraging AFL participation but more importantly offering AFL as a vehicle to create personal and community change. AFL Cape York staff encourage participants to go to school, stay away from substance abuse and other drugs and discuss the negative affect violence is having in communities.

To complement our lifestyle program we have been able to develop a comprehensive participation pathway for both boys and girls at primary and secondary schooling levels.

Our representative team, the CRUSADERS were first introduced to AFL Queensland talent program back in 2001 when the under 12’s participated at the Queensland State Primary Schools AFL Championships in Cairns as the Presidents Invitational team. The under 14 Crusaders were also accepted to the Queensland Country Championships in the same year and followed by the U16 Crusaders.

AFL Cape York Ltd
45 - 61 Tills Street, Westcourt
Cairns 4870

PO Box 143, Manunda 4870
Phone: (07) 4054 5199
Fax: (07) 4054 5399

ABN: 67106529257