The 2022 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships will be played this week in Melbourne from Tuesday November 22 to Friday November 25.
The event, hosted by Disability Sports Australia (DSA) in partnership with the AFL, gives Australia’s most talented Wheelchair Australian Rules players the opportunity to represent their state/territory against the best in the country.
The newly opened Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre will host what will be the first national wheelchair championships since 2019, involving 11 teams with 70 players participating.
There will be a ‘lightning carnival’ format on the first day, the results of which will determine whether teams are placed into either Division One or Division Two for a round of games. The championships will culminate in Grand Finals on Friday.
Teams from Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales/ACT and Northern Territory will be competing in the championships for the first time, alongside teams from South Australia, Tasmania and two from Victoria (Blue and White). There will also be two teams from the Australian Defence Force (White and Yellow) and a Returned & Services League (RSL) squad.
AFL Executive General Manager Game Development, Rob Auld, said: “It is going to be very exciting to see the best Wheelchair Australian Rules players competing in the same event, which hasn’t happened since 2019.
"Part of what makes Australian football great is the diverse and inclusive formats which bring communities together and allow people from all walks of life, including wheelchair athletes, to participate and experience the thrill of representing their state or territory at a national event like what we are about to see in Melbourne.
"I would like to wish all the participants and everyone involved all the best and sincerely thank Toyota for their continued support of the inclusion formats.”
Live broadcast arrangements
In a major boost for the competition, Kayo and ABC Sport have come on board as broadcast partners.
Kayo Freebies will be streaming all Division One matches from Wednesday and the final round of Division Two matches on Thursday, then Grand Finals on Friday.
ABC Sport Radio will call both Grand Finals. Listen to their coverage via ABC SPORT digital radio; the ABC SPORT website or via the ABC listen app.
The fixture and match centre for the championships can be viewed here: https://www.wheelchairaflchampionship.au/match-centre. Action starts at 9:00am AEDT on Tuesday November 22.
First played in 2016, South Australia has won all four national titles contested, having defeated Victoria in the final of the last event held in 2019.
About Wheelchair AFL
The game is played between two teams of five, plus interchange players. The field is a rectangular indoor court divided into thirds (like netball), with AFL goal posts at either end of the field. Players are assigned to the position of either a defender, midfielder or forward with the forwards the only players who are able to score. Similar to AFL 9s, tackling occurs by touching a player in possession either on their body or wheelchair.
There is no kicking of the ball, where a handball is equivalent to a kick, and an underarm throw, below shoulder height, comparable to a handball.
Media are welcome to cover the event. Photos and vision of the championships can be provided on request.
The 2022 Toyota Wheelchair AFL National Championships is part of the AFL's Diversity and Inclusion program and follows the recent 2022 Toyota AFL National Inclusion Carnival, held in South Australia a few weeks ago.