AFL School Ambassadors of the Year announced

AFL NSW/ACT has announced the winners of the 2017 AFL Schools Ambassadors of the Year with Dean O’Brien (Radford College in Canberra), Anna Goyen (Castle Hill Public School), and Lynne Daly (Bermagui Public School) taking this year’s honours.

The three winners were selected from the 575 current AFL School Ambassadors from across the region, and were a part of a group of 12 who were designated as finalists.

AFL NSW/ACT Schools and Universities Programs Manager, Jonathan Bence said the decision on the winners was difficult considering not only the high volume of nominations, but the quality of each candidate too.

“The difficult task of choosing from the very high quality of applications made the winners even more significant,” said Bence.

“Each were nominated by regional AFL NSW/ACT staff who identified the great efforts and work being done by these AFL School Ambassadors.”

Some of the criteria met by O’Brien, Goyen and Daly included championing AFL at their local school, and providing a positive and vibrant experience for all involved with AFL programs.

Each were said to have actively organised competitions and event days, created links between their schools and community clubs, and also coordinated programs to assist the AFL in reaching school children, far and wide within the region.

Canberra’s Dean O’Brien established an After School Auskick Program with the aim of fostering the game at a grassroots level. O’Brien also ensured his school’s participation in the region-wide Paul Kelly Cup competition, coordinating and coaching a Radford girls team this year. At a school where rugby league and soccer are often most popular, O’Brien is said to have built an AFL following, inserting the game into general school structures.

Anna Goyen from North-Western Sydney coordinated a 67-participant After School Auskick Program at her school in Castle Hill. Goyen has also driven school to club transitions, all while assisting teachers in up-skilling into the coaching and umpiring spaces. Goyen has also proved her passion by encouraging over 900 people to attend just two GWS GIANTS matches in 2017.

Lynne Daly from the Sapphire Coast has been involved with the game for 18 years. As a part of her AFL School Ambassador role, Daly has been active in engaging Indigenous children to take part in the AFL’s Kickstart programs. Much like the other 2017 winners, Daly has also been instrumental in forming school to club transfers, seeing the growth of her local club, the Bermagui Breakers.

The three winners were treated to a 2017 Toyota AFL Finals experience, with travel for themselves and a friend to Melbourne where they attended the 2017 AFL School Ambassadors Dinner at the Semi-Final between Richmond and Geelong. With flights and accommodation taken care of, each of the winners were then able to enjoy a weekend in Melbourne, as thanks for their dedication over 2017.

AFL NSW/ACT wishes to congratulate each of the AFL School Ambassadors of the Year winners, and thanks them for their continued efforts in creating a positive AFL experiences for school children across the region.

If you would like to get involved in the AFL School Ambassadors program, please contact AFL NSW/ACT Schools and Universities Manager, Jonathan Bence at