DSA and AFL announce partnership to develop Wheelchair Aussie Rules

BriG Matt Hall, ADF AFL; Jenni Cole, CEO DSA; GILLON MCLACHlAN, CEO AFL, MAJ. GEN. SIMONE WILKIE, CHAIR ADF SPORTS COUNCIL

BriG Matt Hall, ADF AFL; Jenni Cole, CEO DSA; GILLON MCLACHlAN, CEO AFL, MAJ. GEN. SIMONE WILKIE, CHAIR ADF SPORTS COUNCIL

On Tuesday July 19 the AFL announced the official partnership with Disability Sport Australia (DSA) to develop Wheelchair Australian Football.

‘Wheelchair Aussie Rules’ was developed to provide all Australian Football enthusiasts with or without a disability with an Australian Football experience that has strong parallels with the traditional game. Based on AFL rules and played on a basketball or netball court, this wheelchair sport is open to anyone to play. 

An exhibition match between Disability Sport Victoria and Australian Defence team was played in Melbourne. 

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the AFL was thrilled to be partnering with Disability Sport Australia to promote and expand Wheelchair Australian Football.

“At the AFL we are determined to ensure our great game is inclusive of all Australians,” Mr McLachlan said. 

“We are focused on removing all barriers to participation and through Wheelchair Australian Football we can provide another avenue for people with a disability to play our game.

“Importantly, the sport also allows people with a disability to compete alongside their able-bodied friends, ensuring it truly is a game for everyone. We look forward to working with Disability Sport Australia to help increase the profile of Wheelchair football and the opportunities for people to play.”

Disability Sport Australia CEO Jenni Cole said it is fantastic to be able to bring this new sport of Wheelchair Australian Football to the Australian public.

 “Wheelchair Australian Football is truly open to anyone – male or female, with or without a disability, so it really makes Australia’s game everyone’s game” Ms Cole said.

“It includes people who have a disability that may not be able to get involved in other sports, and giving footy lovers with a disability to play the game they love with their mates.

“Having the AFL behind this is such a testament to their inclusive and innovative approach” 

Chairman of ADF AFL, Brigadier Matt Hall said the Australian Defence Force is excited to be an inaugural partner in the development of Wheelchair Australian Rules.

“This initiative is directly supporting our Wounded, Injured and Ill Service men and women and the Veteran community," said Mr Hall

“The soldiers who will participate are from the 1st Brigade Soldier Recovery Centre in Darwin, currently undergoing recovery and rehabilitation from injury and illness. These soldiers participated in the inaugural DSA-ADF National Wheelchair Aussie Rules Carnival in April this year, and have since initiated their own weekly competition in Darwin.”

Wheelchair Australian Football has many applications in the community, particularly in rehabilitation, school and social environments. Fundamentally, the sport enables people of all ages and disability levels to participate in male, female or mixed competitions that fit around their busy lives and provide a social and fitness outlet.

Key rules:

  • Five players on each team
  • Teams score by handballing (ie. kicking) or passing with underarm throw (ie. handballing) the football into their attacking scoring zone to a designated scorer who can score a goal or behind by handballing the ball between the goal posts. A mark is awarded when the ball has travelled three metres or more.

More information regarding Wheelchair Australian Football can be found on Wheelchair Aussie Rules page.

Related news:

AFL - Wheelchair football a game for everyone: Gill
Melbourne FC - Wheelchair football for everyone: AFL
Melbourne Sports Hub - Video