AFLQ TO DEVELOP NORTHERN RIVERS

The push for an AFL team to be located on the Gold Coast in 2010 has had another huge side effect, with AFL Queensland now responsible for the development of the game in far northern New South Wales.

With a development program held up to the rest of the country as the model to follow, AFL Queensland is now responsible for the rapidly growing area from the Queensland border down to Maclean.

It encompasses major centres such as Ballina, Lismore, Casino, Yamba and Maclean.

Former AFL NSW/ACT development officer Brendan Sheridan has been reallocated to AFLQ, and will continue to work his former region with the assistance of newly appointed Gold Coast-Northern Rivers Regional Manager Corey Bell.

The former Brisbane Bear was previously the South East Region Development Manager, but will now be responsible for an area stretching from Beenleigh to Maclean.

Successful Gold Coast region manager Troy Clarke will move into a new role which will see him continue to manage the region's talent program along with any game and fan development projects based around the Kangaroos and the AFL's specific strategy for the region.

Bell will be responsible for delivering all participation, education and growth strategies across the new, enlarged region, and he will have five development officers under his wing.

AFLQ has already seen two success stories from the Northern Rivers region come through their ranks in the form of Kevin Tandogac and Wayde Mills.

Tandogac made his way to the Brisbane Lions rookie list and is a Southport premiership player after being a junior star in Ballina.

Mills, from Lennox Head, cemented his spot on the Brisbane Lions' senior list this year.

They are the tip of the iceberg in a strong sporting region and the far closer proximity of AFLQ to the Northern Rivers region than AFL NSW should be a huge asset for talent in the region.

It was only three years ago that one fulltime staff member based in Coffs Harbour was responsible for the 400km up to the Queensland border.

In addition to the development strategy, a new body will be formed to be known as AFL Northern Rivers, which will oversee both senior and junior competitions in the region.

AFL Northern Rivers will become an affiliate of AFL Queensland.


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