The “wheel” AFL has arrived

PLAYING a competitive game of footy is now within reach for those with a physical disability thanks to a new social competition of AFL Wheelchair.

Developed by Kevin Faulkner, who is the sports coordinator at Physical disABILITY Sports Tasmania, AFL Wheelchair is aimed at giving people with a disability the opportunity to play the much-loved Australian pastime with their siblings and peers.

Mr Faulkner said he developed the idea after watching a game of wheelchair rugby league and thinking that AFL could be adapted in the same way

He said AFL Wheelchair had strong parallels to the traditional game and provided match play experience to all AFL enthusiasts with physical disability.

“More importantly, AFL Wheelchair is easy to play, not too physically demanding and provides an environment where participation, enjoyment and safety are a priority,” he said.

“The new sport has many applications in the community, particularly in school and social environments.

“It is a wholly inclusive sport that allows both people with physical disability and those without to compete on a level playing field, albeit in wheelchairs.”

The game is played between two teams of five, with interchange players.

The field is an indoor basketball or netball court and is divided into three zones – a centre zone and two scoring zones.

Teams score by hand balling (kick) or passing the football into their attacking scoring zone to the designated scorer, who can score a goal or behind by hand balling the ball between the goal posts.

A mark is awarded when the ball has travelled three-metres.

Mr Faulkner said a Tasmanian representative team had already brought home a silver medal from the 2017 National Championships, which were recently held in Melbourne.

A social competition of AFL Wheelchair is now underway on Monday nights from 5.30pm-7pm at the Glenorchy YMCA, 8a Constance Avenue, Glenorchy.

Anyone interested in playing, refereeing or being involved in this new sport can contact Kevin Faulkner at Physical disABILITY Sports Tasmania by phoning 6272 7513 or by emailing sports@pdstamania.org.

Caption: From left, Richard Jones, Kevin Faulkner, Justin Omant and Josh Langford play a game of AFL Wheelchair at the Glenorchy YMCA.