The 2023 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships will be back in Victoria with the event to be held at State Netball & Hockey Centre from 1-5 November.
After successfully returning in 2022 following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, every state and territory will again be represented at this year’s event, along with teams from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Returned Services League of Australia (RSL).
The Championships, co-delivered by the AFL and Disability Sports Australia, with support from AFL Victoria, provides Australia’s most talented wheelchair footballers with the opportunity to represent their state/territory against the best in the country.
AFL Executive General Manager Game Development, Rob Auld, said: “The 2023 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships promises to be a big celebration and showcase wheelchair football, which is a growing part of the game.
“The Championships represents the highest level of wheelchair football competition and brings together the best players from all states and territories. It’s sure to be a magnificent week of wheelchair footy action in Melbourne this November at a first-class venue.
“On behalf of the AFL, best wishes to all participants and everyone involved. Thank you to Toyota Australia for their continued support of the AFL’s inclusion formats and to Disability Sports Australia for their partnership to ensure the continued growth of the event and the sport.”
Disability Sports Australia Chairman, Phil Hamdorf, said: “We are thrilled with the announcement of the dates and venue for the 2023 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships.
“The Championships promises to be an exciting addition to the evolution of the sport, providing Australia’s most talented players the opportunity to represent at the national level, while promoting diversity and inclusion in sport.
“We are delighted that the State Netball & Hockey Centre will host the event. This world-class facility will provide an outstanding platform for athletes and spectators to engage with this great sport.”
First played in 2016, the Wheelchair AFL National Championships was won by South Australia for the first four years before the pandemic caused a two-year pause. In 2022, Victoria won their first title and the ADF team took out the Division Two trophy, which was awarded for the first time.
Teams from Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales/ACT and Northern Territory competed in the event for the first time in 2022. Full details of the 2023 Championships will be announced closer to the event.
Toyota Australia, Chief Marketing Officer, Vin Naidoo, said Toyota is delighted to continue supporting the 2023 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships for another year.
“Toyota has been a long-standing partner of the AFL and as part of that, we are committed to growing the game at all levels. We’re excited to see all the talented players take part in this year’s championships and wish all the teams the best of luck in the competition.”
Toyota Australia is the premier partner of the 2023 Wheelchair AFL National Championships with supporting partners the Australian Defence Force, Victorian Government and APM Employment Services.
The 2023 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships is part of the AFL’s Diversity and Inclusion program supported by Toyota, which also includes the upcoming Toyota AFL National Inclusion Carnival set to be played in Queensland in October.
About Wheelchair Australian Rules Football
Wheelchair Australian Rules Football and the Wheelchair AFL National Championships were initiated and developed by Disability Sports Australia. The game is played between two teams of five players, plus interchange players. The field is a rectangular indoor court divided into thirds (like netball), with Australian Football goal posts at either end of the field. Players are assigned to the position of either defender (two players), midfielder (one) or forwards (two players) with the forwards being the only players who are able to score. Similar to AFL 9s, ‘tackling’ occurs by touching a player in possession of the ball either on their body or their wheelchair.
There is no kicking of the ball. A handball is equivalent to a kick, and an underarm throw (below shoulder height), is the equivalent of a handball.