AFL Queensland State Talent Manager was awarded the Queensland Government Service to Sport award last night at the annual Queensland Sport Awards and Hall of Fame Presentation, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
One hundred and thirty-one of a total of 197 Queenslanders have played in the AFL since Mark Browning took charge of the Queensland talent pathway in 1996. There are currently more than 50 Queenslanders playing in the AFLW.
The former Sydney Swans champion has played a pivotal role in blazing a path for players and knows the background story of every Queensland player who made it, and countless more who didn’t.
Over the past 26 years, he has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate and challenge the status quo to identify and develop first choice talent in playing and coaching.
It’s through his leadership and innovative approach in the talent space that the AFL Club Academies and the Allies programs are in place today. For the very first time in Under 18 National Championship history, this year the Allies shocked the country by winning the championship.
Mark’s passion and advocacy for the growth and development of the game in Queensland has been critical in the game’s successful expansion.
He said, “When you see the other people who were recognised for their contributions, I’m in elite company, so it’s great recognition for me, but also the programs we’ve run for a long time.
“I’m thankful to my family, my mum and dad, and the team I work with at AFL Queensland. I’m grateful to have been trusted to lead the talent pathways in Queensland.”
Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires congratulated Mark on his achievements, and as a driving force behind talent identification in Queensland football.
“It’s fantastic that Mark has been recognised for his incredible contribution to football in Queensland and nationally over the last 48 years as a player, coach, and Talent Manager,” she said.
“As a highly respected figure within Queensland football, he has made a significant impact and contribution to not only the game, but the career of hundreds of Queensland footballers.”
“AFL Queensland’s talent identification process, talent pathways, and representative teams wouldn’t be where they are today without Mark’s hard work, innovation, and passion.”
Other finalists were:
- Queensland Sports Star of the Year: Ally Anderson and Lachie Neale (Brisbane Lions)
- Queensland Junior Sport Star of the Year: Jed Walter (Gold Coast SUNS)
- Queensland Sport Team of the Year: Brisbane Lions AFL Team
- Queensland Junior Sport Team of the Year: AFL Queensland Under 18 Girls Team
- Queensland Sport Event of the Year: 2022 AFL Women’s Grand Final
- Queensland Sport Administrator of the Year: Trisha Squires
- Queensland Sport Officiator of the Year: Andrew Adair (Umpire)
- Queensland Sport Coach of the Year: Chris Fagan (Brisbane Lions)
- Sport Innovation of the Year: AFL Queensland Wheelchair Football League
Australian Rules Football in Queensland is booming, with AFL Queensland recently announcing more than 68,000 registered participants played the game in 2023. The overall total encompasses participants from NAB AFL Auskick, Superstars, junior, youth, senior and social community football from the southern Gold Coast up to Cape York.