In the lead-up to this month’s AFL grand final being held in Queensland for the first time in the code’s history the Sunshine Coast is celebrating its own victory, with council’s Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex being crowned the Queensland winner of a new AFL national award.
The AFL recently created the Ken Gannon Community Football Facilities Awards* to annually recognise best practice in community football facility development across Australia.
AFL National Venues and Community Facilities Manager Shayne Ward said the awards were an excellent initiative.
“The awards allow the AFL to document best practice in facility development for our sport and celebrate the contribution and investment of key stakeholders such as Sunshine Coast Council as well as acknowledging the incredible service given to the game by Ken Gannon,” Mr Ward said.
“AFL Queensland nominated the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex as Project of the Year (Queensland) for 2019 in support of council’s site masterplan and long-term investment at Fisherman’s Road and this has been endorsed by AFL’s National Facilities Panel.
“This project is a remarkable example of best practice that aligns very strongly to the AFL’s aim of providing well positioned, welcoming, fit-for-purpose football facilities that support our growing game’s strategic priorities.”
Sunshine Coast Council Economic Development Councillor Jason O’Pray said the complex was a game-changer for both local grassroots clubs and national elite sport.
“Council saw the need to upgrade the Maroochy Multi Sports Complex facilities and delivered a new building with administration space, amenities and change rooms for AFL as well as upgraded player and administration facilities for our netballers,” Cr O’Pray said.
“During the AFL December/January 2020 pre-season training camps we proudly hosted Port Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Carlton.
“We also saw Melbourne, Essendon, North Melbourne, Collingwood and St Kilda utilise our facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Division 7 Councillor Ted Hungerford said Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex was home to 11,500 people in the local football community including the mighty Maroochydore Roos who catered for a wide range of ages across men’s, women’s and junior comps.
“It’s wonderful to see a complex of this standard is available to players as well as volunteers and the growing community,” Cr Hungerford said.
“The Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex is a major boost to the local sport scene and kicks some serious goals for Sunshine Coast footy. It’s a breeding ground for talented locals to be recognised, especially with the Brisbane Lions Academy which holds regional sessions at the complex.
“To see it recognised from such a respected national institution is an endorsement of our vision for the region which is to be healthy, smart and creative.”