For the first time in its history, Queensland has claimed both the Under 16 and Under 18 NAB AFL National Championships in the same year.
Both teams went through their respective championships undefeated, and both beat NSW/ACT in the final game to clench the titles.
The Under 18’s kick started it last week in Victoria, led from the front beautifully by captain Ben Keays, to comfortably win all three games.
Today, the Under 16’s finished off the job.
With the game in the balance at three quarter time, Queensland kicked four goals to nil in the final 20 minutes, which included two courtesy of Connor Ballenden.
Queensland Academy and High Performance coach, Adrian Fletcher, said these performances prove the strength and growth of Australian football in Queensland.
“At the end of the day, these results back up that we have got the talent here in Queensland. The kids playing are putting it together, and closing the gap to the heartland,” Fletcher said.
He hopes it gets more kids playing the game, and striving to be a part of the state program.
“We hope it’s a great motivation for kids in the younger age groups, to play footy, and to show that if they put their minds to it, that this is what can happen,” he said.
AFL Queensland Chief Executive Officer Michael Conlan said the championship wins are part of a bigger story for the code in Queensland.
“We are on track for another bumper year in 2015, with participation figures showing just over 14% growth at the halfway mark,” Conlan said.
“141,261 boys, girls, men and women have participated in programs and competitions, compared to 123,490 at this time last year.
“Our numbers at grassroots level and the success of our talent programs are proof of the healthy state of Australian football in Queensland.”
Results from the 2015 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships Division Two – Round Three matches played today at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast:
Queensland 1.1 2.2 5.4 9.7 (61)
NSW/ACT 2.1 3.1 6.2 6.4 (40)
Queensland: Ballenden 2, Benson 2, Crossley 2, Geary 1, Simington 1, Smith
NSW/ACT: Richards 2, Evans 1, Hardman 1, Peach 1, Powell 1
Queensland: Crossley, Heron, Collins, Gordon, Ballenden, Dawson, Benson, Molan
NSW/ACT: Richards, Powell, Evans, Paech, Hardman
QUEENSLAND’S NAB MVP: Connor Ballenden
The NAB AFL Under-16 Championships is part of the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL.
NAB has been Footifying Australia since 2002 through the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program which comprises the following elements:
- NAB AFL Rising Star
- NAB AFL Draft
- NAB AFL Draft Combine
- NAB AFL Trade Period
- NAB AFL Under-18 Championships
- NAB AFL Academy
- NAB AFL Under-16 Championships