6 February, 2024
Get ready for the bounce
GEAR up to reignite your footy passion with AFL Cairns officially announcing a jam-packed 2024 season that will kick off on Saturday, April 13 with a classic match up between the Manunda Hawks and the Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs.
Epic battles are in the making as the local teams prepare to put their off-season recruitments to the test in the season opener.
A refreshed Manunda Hawks hope to make a comeback after a rough season in 2023 against the underdog Centrals Bulldogs who will be playing at home in Crathern Park, while the Lions head to Holloways Beach to face the reigning champions the Port Douglas Crocs and North Cairns takes on the Saints in Watson’s Oval.
Semifinals will take place on September 6-7, for the preliminary final match on September 14 and closing the season with an exciting Saturday twilight premiership game on September 21.
AFL Cairns general manager Craig Lees said conditions were perfect for a breathtaking season of football.
“We are launching the 2024 fixtures with our partners Sunlover Reef Cruises. It all kicks off on April 13, with Centrals Trinity Beach taking on Manunda Hawks, a prelim final replay at Watsons Oval with Saints taking on North Cairns at home, and the match of the round will be Port Douglas taking on the Cairns City Lions, both clubs have done a remarkable job in the off season with recruiting and retaining.
“For our second Legacy round we’ll have North Cairns versus South Cairns Cutters for the ANZAC Day Cup, this year will be the first game where we’ll see the Manunda Hawks take on the Cairns Saints for that twilight footy, so the Hawks get to host ANZAC Day at Cazalys Stadium.
“We currently don’t have Port Douglas in the women’s fixture, they’re working on a strategic plan in alignment with AFL Cairns for them to obtain their license to be in the competition, and we’ll afford them until mid-March to do so.”
Manunda Hawks coach Wayne Siekman said they were optimistic after off-season recruitments with Daniel Anderson former Cairns City Lions, James Boyd former South Cairns Cutters and Josh Gardner former Cairns City Lions.
“We’ve reached 100-point losses last year and didn’t win a game, so to try and get people to come to your club you’ve got to be open and honest, and I’ve been very impressed with the character of people that are coming on the journey,” he said.
“We’re still in talks with Jarrod Harbrow to see if he’ll be returning this season but getting James Boyd it’s pretty big for us. These recruitments give us a chance to be competitive and with that competitiveness hopefully it means winning football.”