11 Mar 2017 Chairman’s Update
Welcome to another exciting year of Australian Defence Force Australian Rules Football.
2017 sees our program continuing to expand with our annual ADF National Carnival and Wheelchair AFL competitions in Melbourne, our All Stars men’s and women’s teams competing for the ANZAC Challenge Cup in Adelaide and Melbourne, and our growing men’s and women’s indigenous football and mentoring development programs. A highlight this year has been our four ADF women playing at the pinnacle of their sport in the inaugural AFL Women’s League. Congratulations to Kate Lutkins (Brisbane Lions), Clare Lawton (GWS), Rhi Metcalf and Heather Anderson (Adelaide Crows). It’s been a treat to watch you play on Fox Footy each week and we wish you all the very best for the remainder of the competition.
Navy, Army and Air Force will once again compete for honours at our ADF National Carnival being held in Melbourne 12-18 March. Despite the competition being held a little earlier then we would like (competing demands for ovals and facilities), we are thrilled to have secured first class ovals for our men’s and women’s games at the homes of St Kilda, Richmond and Frankston Football Clubs. A lot of work has gone into the 2017 program and we are delighted once again to have the outstanding support of our match day sponsor, Australian Military Bank, that makes this carnival a success.
Concurrent to our ADF National Carnival, two ADF teams will compete in the second Australian National Wheelchair AFL Competition, to be held at the Victorian State Netball and Hockey Centre, 14-17 March. The ADF is an inaugural partner with Disability Sports Australia and the AFL in this competition, helping to grow an adaptive version of Australia’s own brand of football. This is a great opportunity for our servicemen and women undergoing rehabilitation and recovery from illness or injury. This year, two ADF teams from our Army Soldier Recovery Centres will compete, and we are delighted to welcome an RSL Victoria veterans team to the competition. I encourage all ADF members and their families to visit the competition and see this exciting new sport in action.
This year our ADF Men’s All Stars will once again play against the best of Australian Combined Emergency Services (ACES) at the fantastic Adelaide Oval facility on 21 April. The game will be played as a curtain raiser immediately prior to the Port Adelaide-Carlton ANZAC commemorative round game, and is a highlight of our ADFAR annual calendar. Port Adelaide Football Club continue to be outstanding in their generous support to our program, providing training opportunities at their home ground, exposure to AFL level professional development, visitation to their facilities and motivational engagements with coaches and staff.
We are also delighted to announce that our women’s ADF All Stars team will play for the ANZAC Challenge Cup against an AFL Victoria women’s representative team for the first time on a major AFL stadium, as a curtain raiser to an AFL game during the AFL ANZAC commemorative round. More details soon, however we expect this opportunity will bring out a much tougher opposition this year, as our women have won this game five years straight and the Vics are hungry to win the Cup back.
Umpires are a critical part of any Aussie Rules competition and ADFAR continues to promote ADF member participation in approved umpiring accreditation courses. Our pool of available umpires is steadily growing but we are always looking to help increase our pool of expertise.
This year we continue to provide opportunities for our indigenous servicemen and women to come together and play Aussie Rules wearing the ADF uniform. Following the successful introduction of a women’s indigenous nine-a-side team alongside our men’s Guyala team who competed at the Bendigo Koori Carnival in October 2016, this year we will be partnering with the Richmond Football Club to promote ADF engagement during the Dreamtime AFL round in late May and participate in indigenous development programs throughout the year. With the support of KPMG, our premier partner for indigenous football, a major success of our program last year was the indigenous mentoring program through football centred on development of Tiwi Islands Youth Girls. With the help of Richmond and KPMG we look forward to continuing this program with our goal to field both men’s and women’s indigenous football teams at a competition in the second half of 2017.
Our sponsoring partners provide critical support to ADFAR activities and in 2017 we are once again very well supported. Australian Military Bank continues our long standing terrific partnership as our premier partner for the ADF National Carnival, Presentation Evening and Men’s All Stars team. KPMG and Defence’s Directorate of Indigenous Affairs provide superb support for our indigenous program, and we welcome KPMG as our premier partner for Wheelchair AFL. With the growth of Women’s AFL across Australia and rapidly increasing costs of our football program, we are excited to welcome Thales as our premier partner for ADF Women’s football in 2017. We are very grateful to Bruck Textiles, for their ongoing generous assistance to Navy, Army, Air Force and our ADF representative sides for clothing and uniforms. Those uniforms and playing gear made possible for Service and ADFAR activities through the ongoing great support of ISC. We are very grateful for the terrific support of our umpire sponsor, Deloitte, who ensure our ADF men and women are well kitted in their white, orange, yellow colours each year, and continue to support our Chairman’s reception event. Aspenmedical’s provision of medical assistance across all our games, in particular our Wheelchair AFL and ADF All Stars events, is critical to ensuring player health during our activities. ADFAR is also very grateful for the support of another new sponsor, Kul Technologies, without whose assistance this website would not be available. Dominic Kul is a familiar name to many long term serving ADFAR members and we are delighted to have Kul Technologies supporting our program from 2017. Without these sponsors it would not be possible to successfully promote and conduct our increasing range of football opportunities for serving ADF members.
Likewise, we are very grateful to Port Adelaide Football Club for their support to our ADF Men’s football; St Kilda Football Club, Richmond Football Club and Frankston Football Club for use of home ground ovals and facilities for the ADF National Carnival; and again, Richmond Football Club for assisting with our indigenous development and women’s programs.
The ADFAR Executive Committee meets on a regular basis to plan activities and coordinate development of our great Australian game. We continue to seek opportunities to promote ADF Australian Rules Football inside and outside Defence and are always on the lookout for servicemen and women who want to become active participants as players, administrative staff, coaching staff, umpires and committee members, or just want to be involved.
We welcome your input and thank all participants for supporting ADF Australian Rules Football.
Chairman Australian Defence Force Australian Rules Association