AFL Victoria, together with the VWFL (Victorian Wheelchair Football League) and VBFL (Victorian Blind Football League), has today launched the 2020 Round Robin Carnival for players across both leagues to showcase their talents.
All levels of the game across Victoria have been impacted by the health pandemic this year and restrictions made it difficult to conduct a fair and equitable season while preserving the integrity of both leagues.
The Carnivals will commence on Saturday 28 with AFL Blind and Sunday 29 November for AFL Wheelchair.
The Carnivals aim to engage all players back into Sport and Recreation in a fun, friendly and safe environment, with AFL Victoria developing a thorough COVID Safe Plan to ensure the safety of all players, volunteers and staff.
The Robert Rose Foundation Victorian AFL Wheelchair Carnival will include AFL clubs Essendon, Richmond, St Kilda, Collingwood and Hawthorn with 43 games scheduled across the three Sunday’s, with over 50 players competing at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre – Show Courts in Albert Park.
The Victorian AFL Blind Carnival will include four teams with two of the four teams being AFL Clubs, Hawthorn and St Kilda, 27 games scheduled across three Saturday’s at Action Indoor Sports Football Arena in Tullamarine, with over 40 players who identify living with blindness or low vision
AFL Disability Inclusion Manager Tim Nield said these carnivals presents an opportunity for many players to continue their love of the game after a difficult season for everyone in football.
“There was overwhelming feedback that the players of these competitions wanted to be re-engaged back into football in some way, so we saw these Carnivals as a great way for players to re-engage in the social and physical benefits of football,” Mr Nield said.
“After a year where next to no football has been able to be played in 2020 due to COVID-19, we are really excited that we can make this opportunity available to the football community.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately there will not be the opportunity for spectators to attend. However, both carnivals will be live streamed, as well as the for the first time, in front of a national audience on the National AFL Inclusion Facebook page.
Robert Rose Foundation Victorian AFL Wheelchair Carnival (December 6 and 13)
Victorian AFL Blind Carnival (December 5 and 12)
Essendon’s Wheelchair Captain Louis Rowe emphasised the excitement across all Victorian AFL Wheelchair players.
“Summertimes tend to drag on and it feels an age between football seasons so this year has been incredibly tough. We’ve all missed footy and each other so much,” Mr Rowe said.
“It’s been such a boost to catch up with everyone at training and get back out onto the track. This has been the longest pre-season we’ve had and we’re all rearing to go.”
“I think this Carnival is going to be intense as we’ve got 18 months of pent up energy and we’re ready to roll! We can’t wait to get started on Sunday.”
Robert Rose Foundation Chair Derek Young said the Foundation was delighted that it had been able to continue its support as naming rights sponsor of the VWFL and its Carnival taking place over the next few weeks.
“Throughout our 20-year history, the Foundation’s entire focus has been on improving the wellbeing of people living with severe spinal cord injuries. The VWFL has already had an enormous positive impact for the spinal cord injured and broader disability community, so supporting its continued growth and promotion is a natural fit for us,” Mr Young said.
“RRF looks forward to continuing their sponsorship involvement in 2021 when the VWFL gets back into full swing. We’re delighted that we can support this 2020 carnival, albeit in its protracted, but live, form, to continue to drive our commitment to support and promote participation and engagement with the community.”
VBFL – is open to people who identify as being legally blind. VWFL – is open to players who identify as living with a physical disability.
AFL Victoria would like to acknowledge the support of Toyota towards engaging the Victorian disability community back into football in 2020.
For more information on the Robert Rose Foundation please visit www.team22.com.au.