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THE AFL is taunting rival footy codes by erecting free goalposts in a staggering 100 schools throughout Sydney and regional NSW.
It has left the NRL, ARU and FFA deeply concerned.
With cash, ambition and resources, the AFL continues to push deep into the rugby league and rugby union heartlands. Parents have noticed the AFL posts popping up around NSW.
The Daily Telegraph can today reveal that an AFL program has funded posts being erected in no less than 100 private, primary and states schools.
It is understood about 50 sets of posts have been constructed in Sydney schools, the other 50 in rural areas that stretch between Albury to Broken Hill and Coffs Harbour.
A set of posts has even been built at Epping Boys High, a famous rugby union school in Sydney’s northwest.
AFL officials have established posts at 20 schools a year for the past five years. With fewer resources and money, the NRL, FFA and ARU cannot compete.
Thankfully for those three sporting codes, existing league, union and soccer posts around NSW playing fields still dwarf the number or AFL posts — but the AFL is having a fair crack.
The Daily Telegraph also understands AFL officials approached councils in Western Sydney offering free goalposts at suburban fields. Aware it was a free service, councils generally accepted the offer.
“In response to growing demand for our game, the AFL has been running a successful goalposts program since 2011,” said AFL NSW-ACT chief executive Sam Graham.
“The aim of the program is to install 20 new sets of goals posts per year, to schools with a strong interest in AFL, throughout metro and regional NSW. We know that having access to goals posts encourages kids to get active, play socially and learn the skills of the game.”
The success of Sydney Swans and GWS Giants has further enhanced the AFL’s product and brand throughout Sydney and NSW.
NRL officials claim to have spent $2 million maintaining and improving rugby league facilities through NSW.
“Over the past three years the NRL and NSW government has contributed over $2 million to improving rugby league facilities across the state,” said an NRL spokesman.
Most of the AFL goalposts have been built in outer suburb schools of Sydney with inner-city schools not boasting the necessary field size or space.