New AFL 9s competition to bring 500 to town

EYES ON THE BALL: At the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex are l-r Byron Shire Council General Manager Ken Gainger, AFL Queensland CEO Michael Conlan, Pies fan and Byron Mayor Simon Richardson and vice-president of AFL Northern Rivers Juniors, Ean Jones.
EYES ON THE BALL: At the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex are l-r Byron Shire Council General Manager Ken Gainger, AFL Queensland CEO Michael Conlan, Pies fan and Byron Mayor Simon Richardson and vice-president of AFL Northern Rivers Juniors, Ean Jones. Christian Morrow

THE regular local AFL season is over but more football excitement is coming to the shire with the inaugural Byron Bay AFL 9s competition set to take place on October 11 and 12 at the Sport and Recreation Centre.

AFL 9s is the non-contact social form of the game that allows men, women, children and families to play together as part of a team.

Teams from across the country will compete over the two days for $16,000 in prizemoney in men's, mixed and women's tournaments.

More than 40 teams have already nominated to play, bringing more than 500 players to town.

As an AFL tragic from way back, Mayor Simon Richardson said the weekend would be a calendar highlight for the region.

"What more could you want than great footy at Australia's favourite beach destination?" he said.

"Everyone is invited to attend the Byron Bay AFL 9s, and who knows what AFL legend you might see."

Ean Jones, vice-president of AFL Northern Rivers Juniors, said having the AFL 9s in town was a vindication for the council in developing the new sports facility in Ewingsdale.

"The AFL doesn't give out opportunities like this to leagues that don't have great facilities and good organisation," he said.

"Our region is already a catchment area for the Gold Coast Suns, which is important for the whole of the AFL nationally.

"It's a great game to watch; it's a highly entertaining form where skills are paramount."

Destination Byron president Cameron Arnold said having the AFL 9s in Byron was a win for council and a win for the community.

"These visitors will be here for a long stay and interested in seeing the whole of the shire, not just the Byron CBD," he said.

Go to http://www. for more.

Topics:  afl byron bay gold coast suns

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