A brief history of the AFL North Coast shows the competition is solidly recognised as a viable and growing sporting organisation on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
The game was first played here in 1978 and the league was formed in 1980. The AFL North Coast League presently consists of seven clubs from Grafton to Camden Haven and moves are underway to establish more clubs in the near future.
The senior competitions consists of three grades (under-18’s, Reserves & Seniors), they are: Coffs Harbour Swans, North Coffs Kangaroos, Sawtell Toormina Saints, Grafton Tigers, Port Macquarie Magpies and the Camden Haven Bombers joining the competition from 2012. In our junior competition there is seven clubs with four grades (age levels – Auskick, Under 11’s, Under 13’s and Under 15’s) they are Coffs Harbour Swans, North Coffs Kangaroos, Sawtell/Toormina Saints, Northern Beaches Blues, Bellingen Bulldogs, Grafton Tigers and Lower Clarence Eagels( Maclean/Yamba).
Club membership averages over 100 and growing each year per senior club and 400 plus throughout our junior association. Add to this a wealthy support network from parents and friends and the future looks great for North Coast AFL. In 2008, all six clubs are confident of fielding a side in most of the grades and boast strong junior talent as indicated by the level of the Under 18 competition in recent years.
The North Coast Australian Football League realises the importance of developing an interest in the game at junior level and was instrumental in obtaining a full and part time development staff to this area and setting up a junior competition. This has resulted in the number of boys and girls from 4 to 16 years of age playing AFL rising from 47 in 1998 and as previously mentioned over 400 in 2005.
At high school level, an exciting and new 9-A-Side competition was developed in Coffs Harbour four years ago involving the local secondary schools. Run as a “Round Robin” competition at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium, it caters for more than 500 players. The concept was so successful that other areas in NSW have adopted it and the local schools have insisted it be included in their sporting curriculum. It has expanded from a one day carnival to four days to cater for the increased interest. At primary school level there is lots of AFL activities happening. The Paul Kelly Cup is a year 5 & 6 12-a-side competition for all local schools. In 1999 there were 9 teams to 20045 where there were 41 teams participating (approx 615 boys and girls playing) In November of each year the AFL runs an school Auskick Carnival which has year 3 & 4 playing in a modified format similar to the Paul Kelly Cup.
Representative teams have won the Northern NSW Regional Championships on five occasions including the last five years and in 1988 were the NSW Country Champions. Coffs Harbour has also hosted the Under 18 State Trials for two consecutive years and it now appears to be a regular fixture in the state representative calendar, a great boost to local juniors aspiring to make it into the AFL. The city will also host the PSSA State Championships during the middle of the year.
The AFL North Coast is Governed by a Board of Directors which is Chaired by Jason Phillips. Then we have Senior and Junior administration committees, which have a Senior President- Jason Sincock and Junior President- Matt Anderson.