It was footy in paradise at its best on the weekend when Airlie Beach played host to the annual AFL Mackay pre-season carnival.
An added feature this year was the introduction of a women’s Flash Footy tournament, which had overwhelming support with ten teams and in excess of 100 players participate.
The conditions were certainly tropical and incredibly taxing on players and umpires, with the majority well and truly worn our after a long day of round robin format games.
The penultimate games didn’t disappoint, with the Mackay City Hawks (in their debut season) claiming the inaugural AFL Mackay Flash Footy title by just 2-points over a determined Bakers Creek outfit in a had fought affair.
In the men’s comp, last years wooden spooners Whitsunday, showed they’ll be no pushover this season, winning an epic battle against North Mackay Saints that was deadlocked at the final siren of regular time.
Two extra periods of 5 minutes saw the hosts kick away to hold the trophy aloft, much to the delight of the local Sea Eagles supporters.
AFL Queensland State Football Operations Manager, Barry Gibson, said the carnival showcased the popularity of the code in North Queensland.
“It’s was a fantastic day of footy played in great spirit,” said Gibson.
“We were delighted with the the Flash Footy support. Too see over 100 players participate just shows the surging interest in female footy across the state.
“The standard of play in the men’s comp was pleasing, considering how hot and humid it was.
“It was great to see the Mackay U18 Crows Representitive team competing the big boys, along with the Thuringowa Bulldogs who made the long trek down from Townsville.”
The AFL Mackay regular season kicks off on Saturday March 25.