About Game Development

The purpose of AFL Cape York Ltd is to enhance the life skills of Indigenous Australians and increase the participation in sport through the AFL Game. In 1997, the National AFL in conjunction with Rio Tinto Mining set aside a small investment of $25,000.00 for development programs in Far North Queensland. The purpose was to visit remote and isolated Indigenous communities of the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait to encourage AFL participation. Despite early success, there were no ongoing opportunities.

In October 1999, the AFL conducted a 13-day tour of the region to evaluate the prospects of further advancing the AFL Cape York Program and to get a better understanding of the logistics of the region. Following this evaluation, in early 2000, AFL Queensland recommend to the National AFL that there be a placement of an Indigenous Development Officer to service the remote Indigenous communities of the region.

The focus of AFL Cape York’s program has changed considerably since those early community visits in 2000. 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, say no to substance abuse, and discuss the negative effect violence is having on 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.

Since 2003, AFL Cape York have been a strong advocate for Indigenous youth. The vision at AFL Cape York has been to develop constructive engagement programs focusing on education, health and civic well-being with Australian Rules Football being the vehicle to access remote Communities of Cape York, Torres Strait and Gulf. AFL Cape York has been focused on Indigenous advancement by pushing the boundaries and wanting to make a difference purely for the betterment of Indigenous people, that have limited opportunities.

Today, our region covers over 400,00km² across land and sea from remote communities located in the Cape York Peninsula, Torres Strait Islands and Gulf Savannah Regions. AFL Cape York has direct face-to-face contact with over 40 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Remote Communities. Due to boarding school arrangements in the Torres Strait (Tagai State College), we can connect to additional outer island people and their communities

Annually, AFL Cape York engages over 12,000 participants face-to-face through our Game Development Team via sports education (in-school), Auskick (after-school), Kick&Catch, Crusader Cups (Development & Representative Pathways), Community Engagement Sessions and Coach Education Programs.

Through our programs we work extremely hard to support and drive leadership amongst participants and communities. It is our goal to demonstrate appropriate leadership and support those who wish to follow in the same footsteps and become a positive role model in their own communities.

AFL Cape York Community Engagement philosophy centres on activities that promote social justice, education, health and foster a strong sense of community spirit. Leadership is as much about what happens off the field as what happens on it. The Game Development Program is based on the following core values: Responsibility, respect & pride – in yourself (individual), family, school, participants and communities. AFL Cape York is more than just football, it’s about providing an opportunity to those who are less fortunate – we are providing them with a chance to be recognised, noticed, and live a successful life.

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.

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 Team

Matt Mellahn

Development Coordinator

Matt grew up in country Victoria with football always being a massive part of his life. His sense of commitment, mateship and healthy attitude to fitness, can all be traced back to the sport of AFL, shaping the person he is now, in a huge way.

Kieran Sciberras

Development Coordinator

Kieran is a Far North Queensland local, having attended both school and University in Cairns. His passion for sports and fitness started in his youth where he played a range of different sports including Australian Rules Football.

Jake O'Halloran

Participation Program Coordinator