Two Territorians featuring in Inaugural Fitzroy Cubs squad


The AFL has today announced the inaugural Fitzroy Cubs squad that will take on Carlton’s VFL team at IKON Park on Sunday.

The Fitzroy Cubs program has been introduced this year with the purpose of showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally diverse talent prior to the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

The 2022 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft will be held on Wednesday 1 June.

TIO Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Wanderers Football Club's Beau O'Connell and TIO Central Australian Football League Rovers Football Club's Nigel Lockyer have been selected as part of the line up. Lockyer recently played in the TIO NTFL St Mary's Football Club's premiership side during the 2021/22 season. 

The Fitzroy Cubs program also aims to provide young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally diverse players opportunities to transition into state league football and areas of coaching, administration, high performance, medical and umpiring.

National Talent Diversity Manager, Paul Vandenbergh, said: “We are excited to launch the Fitzroy Cubs program this year as part of the program offering under the AFL Diversity Talent programs portfolio.

“While the AFL men’s competition has more than 10 per cent Indigenous player representation, the number of Indigenous and multicultural players across second-tier competitions is lower by comparison.

“We believe this program will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally diverse young people a new pathway into elite football competitions and are excited by the additional opportunities the program will present.” 

The following criteria was developed for players to be eligible for the Fitzroy Cubs program:

• Players from Indigenous and multicultural backgrounds
• Players aged 19-23 will be the primary age target group
• Father-sons of the Fitzroy Football Club or Brisbane Bears Football Club
• Players will be either on state league football lists, including VFL/NAB League/SANFL/WAFL Colts or from community football competitions 

A talent identification day was held at Brunswick Oval on Sunday 24 April which assisted in the selection process.

Three-time Brisbane Lions premiership player Chris Johnson is serving as manager of the Fitzroy Cubs program, with the team to be coached by Northern Bullants assistant coach Jason Williams – who has recently been appointed head coach of the AFL’s Indigenous talent programs.

The match against Carlton’s VFL team will be played on Sunday 15 May at IKON Park from 10.50am and will be a pre-cursor to the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round, which will be held across rounds 10 and 11.

The Fitzroy Cubs v Carlton VFL match will be followed by the second game of the Colgate Young Guns Series, where the Colgate Young Guns will take on Victoria Country U18 from 1:30pm.

How to watch: Please click here to watch a live stream of the Fitzroy Cubs v Carlton VFL match on Sunday.

Fitzroy Cubs v Carlton VFL
Sunday 15 May, 10:50am AEST
IKON Park, Carlton 

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