Opportunity awaits AFL Cape York House

The AFL will be keeping a close eye on how the new AFL Cape York House program runs when it takes off early next year.

A Sherrin-shaped roof will feature on the building with residential quarters to house 48 indigenous students who will attend school in Cairns.

The boarders at Cape York House will play for a newly-created club in the Cairns junior competition and with a footy oval their new backyard, should give teams a run for their money.  

Partnerships with local schools and James Cook University will ensure students potential career interests are covered and aim at providing long-term professional development for the local indigenous community.

“It’s unique in the communal aspect and its cutting edge for us,” AFL community engagement officer Jason Mifsud said. 

“It’s an interesting case study for the AFL to see how it works.”

With the success of the initial Cape York House program, Mifsud talked about the prospect of taking in the Indigenous TAC Cup and AFL recruits each year to provide tutoring and professional development as one example of how the prototype could be adapted.

“It’s definitely transferable,” he said.

Mifsud and former Brisbane Lion triple premiership player turned AFL engagement and talent co-ordinator, Chris Johnson roamed the building site yesterday.
“It’s an opportunity. An option to have a good crack at life,” Johnson said.

“You talk about leadership in footy. Here you’ll have your junior kids aspiring to graduate to the senior campus.”

Johnson also said the idea of playing for their own club only strengthened the community environment of the project.

“From there, you’ll get half a dozen in a state team or rep team there are things you can step on top of that,” he said.

Johnson and Mifsud will travel to Bamaga next week for the annual Chris Johnson Cup, a round-robin tournament that features Indigenous players from Cairns and Cape York.

A girls and boys Crusaders representative side is selected from the carnival.

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