21 August 2023

Annual AFL Cape York carnival gives back to NPA community

| Sarah Martin
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The AFL Cape York Eagles and NPA Mount Saint Bernard Crows at the annual CJAN Cup.

The AFL Cape York Eagles and NPA Mount Saint Bernard Crows at the annual CJAN Cup.

AROUND 200 young footy players came together in the Northern Peninsula Area last week to develop their skills at AFL Cape York’s longest-running event, the annual Chris Johnson and Angie Nadredre Cup.

Students from AFL Cape York House and Mount Saint Bernard’s College travelled more than 1000km to attend the four-day game development event.

The group arrived in Bamaga on Wednesday, visiting all NPA State College campuses, stopping in at the Tip for a photo opportunity, and then on to Yusia-Ginau Oval for a colour run, barbecue and fun kick-around.

AFL Cape York programs and participation coordinator Jake O’Halloran said the colour run was always a hit with staff and students.

“The colour run is one of my favourite events of the year, seeing that many young people – from prep students through to grade 12 – is so heart-warming to see,” he said.

“For us to be able to use an event like this not only to engage the community but to also reiterate the importance of going to school and showing positive behaviours is great for our program.”

AFL Cape York development coordinator Matt Mellahn said the trip to the Cape was something the team looked forward to.

“To be able to share in the experience of travelling up here with the young people from the (AFL) House is something that we always look forward to as it’s a mid-term freshen-up for both staff and students and can reconnect them with family, country and culture,” he said.

Brisbane Lions legend Chris Johnson with the winners of the Cup named in his honour.

Brisbane Lions legend Chris Johnson with the winners of the Cup named in his honour.

On Thursday, the visiting students were joined by NPA State College and Tagai State College pupils for the annual CJAN Cup, which is AFL Cape York’s longest-running participation and talent program.

“The event is used as a selection process for national Indigenous programs, Gold Coast Suns Academy programs and for our Crusaders representative program,” O’Halloran said.

“There is so much talent across the NPA and Torres Strait, so being able to have representatives from across the regions coming together to play football is something that you absolutely love to see.”

The AFL Cape York House for Boys team took out the Chris Johnson Cup, while the AFL Cape York House for Girls team retained the Angie Nadredre Cup.

AFL Cape York development coordinator Kieran Sciberras said the event was about more than just football.

“It’s about reinforcing the importance of attending school, encouraging positive behaviours and giving young people an opportunity to develop life skills,” he said.

“We just use AFL as a tool to help develop our future leaders of tomorrow.

“We wouldn’t be able to run these programs without the amazing support from our partners and sponsors at Rio Tinto, Peddells Ferry, Loyalty Beach Campgrounds, NPARC and the Queensland government.”

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