AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou today paid tribute to the AFL volunteers and administrators in Queensland on the eve of the first Brisbane Lions – Gold Coast Suns Q-Clash at the Gabba.

Friday, 6 May, 2011

On the eve of the first QClash between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba Saturday night, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou today paid tribute to the AFL volunteers and administrators in Queensland who have worked tirelessly to grow the game.
While the much anticipated match-up between the Lions and Suns is obviously a great opportunity for the two AFL Clubs, Demetriou said the QClash was also the result of the thousands of hours of work by the local football community to build awareness and interest in the game.
“I’m really pleased to see how much the interest in the Q Clash has been building right across Australia. It’s terrific outcome for AFL in Queensland and is great for the Lions and the Suns,” he said in an AFL media statement.
“While it’s going to become an amazing showcase of our game, it’s important to remember that to get to this point has taken the hard work and dedication of many people over many years,” Demetriou said.
“To the staff at AFL Queensland lead by Chairman Darryl Bray and CEO Richard Griffiths, and to the thousands of volunteers across the state, I’d like to take the chance today to say ‘congratulations’.
“To have built up the interest, participation levels and the number of elite athletes playing AFL to a point where we could establish a second team in Queensland is tremendous,”, Demetriou said.
In 2000, there were 30,120 registered participants of AFL. In 10 years that figure has reached 112,447. 
There are a record 53 Queenslanders on the playing lists of AFL Clubs this year and there will be many more in the future with the Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions talent academies now in operation. 
So far this year, seven Queenslanders have debuted in the Toyota AFL Premiership season, with Brisbane’s Bryce Retzlaff and Gold Coast’s Joey Daye to take that number to nine this weekend.
‘While the focus of the football world will be on the first QClash between Brisbane and Gold Coast, there will be many football people across Queensland who can rightly take some pride that they have contributed to building the foundations for this game,” Demetriou said.
“I want to personally thank the staff at AFL Queensland and all those people working in community football across the state and hope they enjoy the first ever QClash.”

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