Two new Queensland schools join the AFL School of Excellence program

A further two schools have been announced as official AFL Schools of Excellence in 2022 as the competition begins a new chapter.

As a part of a new Grade 7/8 competition and to develop into all divisions over the next five years, Brisbane South State Secondary College and Springwood State High School (SHS) join the program from 2022.

Melanie Harth, Principal of Springwood SHS said the school was looking forward to a wonderful partnership with AFL Queensland.

“At Springwood SHS we are dedicated to our school vision of empowering our students for lifelong success through twenty-first century innovative teaching and learning within a culture or care,” she said.

“Academies of Excellence and scholarship programs are offered in each of our Houses. In 2022, we are launching our new Action House Excellence Program in AFL and are excited to officially be one of eleven high schools to offer an accredited Queensland AFL School of Excellence Program.

“Our AFL Excellence Program will support our community partnership with the Springwood Pumas Australian Football Club and we look forward to promoting the benefits of AFL to our young athletes of the future.”

The AFL Academy at Brisbane South State Secondary College is the first inner city excellence program to partner with the Brisbane Lions, AFL Queensland, and collaborate with The University of Queensland, to provide a high-performance environment for students to thrive in sport and academics. 

John Tabrett, Head of Health & Physical Education and Sport said being named as an AFL School of Excellence was an important step for the growth of the game within their school.

“Our students and school community are excited to get the opportunity to join the Schools of Excellence competition in 2022 to compete against and learn from fellow Schools of Excellence schools and students at their age group,” he said.

“Playing the game of AFL is the most enjoyable element of this initiative so to have further opportunities for students to participate and compete is an important step forward for our BSSSC AFL Academy students and Queensland footy.”

In 2021, AFL Queensland completed a review of the Schools of Excellence competition for the first time since the competition began.

Damien Mitchelmore, Programs and Participation Manager – Schools and Diversity said he was excited to see the competition evolve from 2022 onwards.

“One of the outcomes of the review was to create a competition pathway that allows for AFL development through increased participation and improved performance,” he said.

“A tiered competition in 2022 will allow for schools to play more competitive football.

“The new structure also allows for school to forward plan the next three to five years with a goal of raising the standard and profile of AFL within their school community, along with their feeder primary schools.”

Both competition tiers will have qualifying opportunities to be seeded into the Quarter and Semi Finals of the StreetSmarts AFLQ Schools Cup.

Other changes include;  

  • Coaching professional development and student umpire programs will be introduced with schools required to maintain active engagement in these areas.
  • The scheduling of days will see an overall reduction in days of competition through a combination of schools hosting fixtures and the use of centralised venues.  This will also hopefully reduce the travel time and costs for schools.
  • Continuing to ensure that the competition runs well, AFLQ staff will oversee all fixtures, along with appointing umpires to the main and development competitions and first aid to all venues.  
  • Competition divisions remain junior male and female; senior male and female; with a main and development competition in all divisions.
  • The introduction of a Grade 7/8 participation competition will allow for new students into the schools to have more opportunities to get a football in their hands in game scenarios.


9 returning schools from 2021 are;


Pictured above: Springwood SHS  Principal Melanie Harth and Head of Department (HPE, Design and Technology) Steve Hodges and students, Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires, Brisbane South State Secondary College Head of AFL Academy (and former Brisbane Lions AFLW Premiership player) Lauren Arnell and students. 

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