Friday, 26 August, 2011

The Gold Coast will host the NAB AFL National Draft in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in an initiative that has prompted League insiders to suggest the tourist strip is fast become the AFL’s home away

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the landmark decision at Metricon Stadium today with Richard Griffiths, CEO of AFL Queensland, Paul Littleton, Managing Partner Nab Business Gold Coast, and Gold Coast Suns CEO Travis Auld, plus Suns players David Swallow, Harley Bennell and Josh Caddy.

This follows the Gold Coast’s successful hosting last November of the 2010 Draft and means the home city of the AFL’s 17th franchise will host one of the major events on the AFL calendar four times in five years.

The Draft will be held in West Sydney this year ahead of the Greater Western Sydney Giants entry to the AFL in 2012.
“This is big news for Queensland AFL fans and the first time the NAB AFL Draft – the second biggest event on the AFL calendar – has been held outside of Victoria for an extended period of time,” Ms Bligh said.

“Clearly, after the Draft was held here so successfully in 2010, the AFL just couldn’t resist a return to this great city, which hasn’t been shy in showing its love for this great sport.

“In the brand new and mighty Metricon Stadium, more than 130,000 people have already flocked to watch the Gold Coast Suns’ first season, with their last home game still to come next weekend against the Hawks.

“We love our sport here on the Gold Coast and the return of the Draft will not only thrill our AFL fans, but will deliver a significant boost to the local tourism industry,” she said.

The Premier thanked those involved in bringing the NAB AFL Draft back to the Gold Coast for three years – including NAB for supporting emerging AFL talent, and the AFL Commission and Executive for their decision to bring this great event back to Queensland.

The AFL also staged a highly-successful industry conference on the Gold Coast in 2010 involving more than 500 key industry personnel and expert international speakers.

Over the next three years, the AFL will work with Events Queensland and other partners with a view to staging another industry conference on the Gold Coast.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said: “The Gold Coast proved to be an outstanding venue for the 2010 NAB AFL Draft with great hospitality by the local community and we are really pleased to be able to work with the Queensland Government again to come back next year.

“We had over 500 industry officials and 100 members of the media here to celebrate the entry of our 17th team, as well as to launch the careers of talented young athletes from around the country.

“With a live national telecast on Fox Sports, young players, their families and AFL fans across Australia can witness the beginning of many new AFL careers.

“David Swallow and Harley Bennell have already proved themselves in matches for the SUNS this year and fellow top-ten selection Josh Caddy will get his chance this weekend when he debuts against Melbourne.

“The NAB AFL Draft is a fantastic event and a very exciting time in the AFL. We look forward to sharing it with the Gold Coast community,” Demetriou said.

Richard Kennerley, State General Manager, Business Banking Queensland, said NAB is excited about the shift to the Gold Coast.

“Since 2002 NAB has been helping Australia’s most talented young footballers reach their potential through the NAB AFL Rising Star program,” he said.

We’re really proud to be associated with this program and the extraordinary calibre of young men represented at the NAB AFL Draft each year. Many of our Queensland employees and customers are passionate fans of the AFL and we welcome this event with open arms,” Richard said.

Sport Minister Phil Reeves said: “Queensland now has the reputation of being the Champion’s State so it make sense to the AFL to have this premier event, their draft, right here in Queensland’.

‘The confidence shown by the AFL in holding their high profile NAB AFL Draft here in Queensland reflects the hard work they have done in growing their game here.”

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