The Australian Government has been partnering with the Australian Football League (AFL) since 2022 through PacificAus Sports to strengthen Australian Football pathways in Fiji, Nauru, and Papua New Guinea. The partnership offers opportunities for promising young male and female players to access targeted training programs in their home countries and at regional competitions, as well as the valuable opportunity to train with the Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions academies. Coaching and umpire mentoring programs are also provided to further drive the development of the game throughout the region.
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Australian Rules football is the national sport of Nauru, and four sitting Nauruan Prime Ministers have kitted up for their District teams.
The Pacific Islands celebrated their first player from a regional development pathway to debut in the AFL with Papua New Guinean, Hewago Oea, playing for the Gold Coast SUNS. Since making a sensational debut in Round 16 2022, Oea has gone on to cement a regular role in the side and is now a proud ambassador for the program. Fellow program ambassador, Zimmorlei Farquharson, also of Papua New Guinea, had an incredible debut 2022 season for the Brisbane Lions where she was rewarded with a 2022 AFLW Rising Star nomination.
Looking ahead, through PacificAus Sports, the AFL will continue to identify, nurture, and promote the next generation of Pacific players, umpires and coaches, and support them to compete in Australia at the highest level.
“The AFL is proud to partner with the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports, to grow our game across the Pacific. Our focus is to execute a sustainable, high-performance pathway with elite Pacific players competing in Australia. We have seen the amazing story of Hewago and his journey from Papua New Guinea to the Gold Coast SUNS and we believe we have even more talent to uncover in the region.”
Executive General Manager – Game Development, AFL
Get in contact with the AFL for more information about the organisation’s activities in Australia and across the Pacific.