Countdown to KickStart Championships

The countdown is on to the Under 15 National KickStart Championships to being held in Townsville for the first time from April 8.

Supported by the Coles AFL Indigenous Program, the 2013 carnival will see all states and territories represented at the championships in a round robin tournament over five days with the grand final being held at Tony Ireland Stadium on the Friday April 12.

Each team has selected the best 25 Indigenous players from their state KickStart Camps with VIC & TAS combined as well as NSW & ACT based on leadership qualities, school attendance, community involvement and football ability.

The U15 KickStart Championships structure has been developed to provide a supported talented player pathway that compliments the National U16 Championships and exposes Indigenous coaches, doctors, physiotherapists and trainers to an elite AFL Program environment.

AFL National Community Engagement manager Jason Mifsud said the carnival is the first stage for players to be involved in a high performance environment.

“The KickStart Championships will provide players with an opportunity to test themselves against the best emerging Indigenous players from across the country.

“Twenty-five of the best performing players will be selected for the Indigenous Flying Boomerangs squad.

“In addition to supporting talent, the KickStart program uses Australian football as a vehicle for education, employment, health and participation outcomes for Indigenous people,” said Mr. Mifsud.

AFL Indigenous ambassador and Gold Coast Suns player Jarrod Harbrow said the people of Townsville can expect to see some exceptional talent on display.

“With the right attitude and skills, some of these young players are on their way to play the game at the elite level,” said Mr. Harbrow.

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the Kickstart Championships is the third and final leg of Townsville’s Festival of Football following on from the Gold Coast SUNS community camp and the clash against North Melbourne in the NAB Cup match in early March.

“The whole festival has been a coup for Townsville and again shows the city is a regional hub for highly quality sporting events,” Cr Hill said.

“The city is proud and thrilled to be hosting the Kickstart Championships and we’re hoping the success of the event in Townsville will possibly lead to staging more high level events such as the AFL Indigenous All Stars game which is currently played in Darwin.

“Bringing the carnival here is a major commitment from the AFL and along with funding support from the North Queensland Sports Foundation I’m sure the event will provide a fantastic showcase for some exciting footy.”

This year players from the Pacific region will take part in the KickStart Championships, competing in their own round robin tournament. A curtain raiser game to the grand final will be played between a combined South Pacific team against an Indigenous combined side.

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