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 other drugs and discuss the negative affect 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 Sport 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 to 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 love a successful life.


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. Matt was an enthusiastic Program Assistant on the Gold Coast from 2015 and loved every minute of it. Matt has achieved his Level 1 AFL Coaching accreditation and Certificate III in Health and Fitness and is currently studying a diploma in Sport and Rec.

His main motivation is seeing kids of all backgrounds getting involved in the game of AFL at all levels. After eagerly awaiting a chance to take his involvement further, he took up an opportunity to join the AFL Cape York game development team at the beginning of 2018.

Since then Matt has delivered programs through the Cooktown, Weipa, Gulf Savannah and Torres Strait regions, covering up to 30 communities and has developed strong relationships throughout his first 3 years.

He’s been heavily involved in our Crusader representative carnivals at under 12, U14 (boys and girls) and U16 levels in the North Queensland Championships and has been invited to join the staff and coaching team in the North Queensland U14 boys squad to play in the State Talent Carnival in each year he’s worked for AFL Cape York.

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. As he grew older, he took that passion to the next level and completed a Bachelor of Sport Science and Business with Honours, a Level 1 AFL coaching Accreditation and a Level 1 Australian Strength and Conditioning certificate. Kieran’s coaching background includes working with developing and National level athletes from Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Kieran joined the AFL Cape York Game Development team in 2019 and has loved every second of it.

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.