AFL Cairns

The Australian Football League Cairns is a semi-professional Australian rules football league that includes clubs from the Cairns region in Queensland, Australia. It is widely regarded as the strongest regional Australian rules football league in Queensland and has a large base at Cazaly's Stadium which has staged Australian Football League matches.

AFL Cairns
Current season, competition or edition:
FormerlyCairns AFL
SportAustralian rules football
Founded1956 (1956)
DirectorGary Young
No. of teams9 [1]
Most recent
Port Douglas Crocs
Most titlesCairns Saints (13)
Promotion to(none)
Relegation to(none)

The league has significant coverage in local media such as The Cairns Post. Each year the Grand Final attracts between 2,000-3,000 spectators.

The CAFL major end of season award is the Paul Buller medal and is awarded to the player with the most votes at the end of the regular season. The Paul Buller medal was named after the Townsville sporting great who moved up to change the competition. He played the game with determination and strength.


An article in the Cairns Post on 3 September 1885 on page 3 titled "Football Match" describes a game of football played at the then cricket grounds, believed to have been in the precinct around Munro Martin Park and the Civic Theatre. This game was between Cairns, led by Jack MacNamara (believed to have been a representative of Victoria at first intercolonial match) and Townsville, led by F Rendall. References are made of "Little Marks" and the final score after 2 hours was Cairns, 1 goal 7 behinds to Townsville, 1 goal 3 behinds. The Cairns umpire was AJ Draper.

The Cairns team was :- Michelle Burke, Leonie Burke, J Swallow, "Little" Draper, Reid, Crawford, Horse, Campbell, Warren, Harrison, McClelland, Oldham, Rev.Nobbs, Grcnsen, J.Loridan, Bulcock, Wood, Ärmstrong, C.Loridan, Johnstone, D. Wall, Middlebrook, Schumhronk, Dent, McCarthy, Hogarth.

T. H. LAKE was the secretary.[2]

The modern league as we now know it formed in 1956 and a local schoolboy competition was also formed resulting in a junior representative trip to Townsville by plane. In 1957 the ANFC, through Bruce Andrew, purchased land in Cairns for the first dedicated field in regional Queensland which became Cazaly's Stadium. The initial Senior competition had only two teams, Norths and Souths. This has since expanded to seven teams.

Around 2000, the league affiliated with the Australian Football League and was re-branded AFL Cairns. The league has grown rapidly in recent years with the ongoing development of Cazaly's Stadium, the success of the Queensland-based Brisbane Lions, and with Cairns hosting exhibition Australian Football League matches and later matches for premiership points.

The league introduced a Women's Footy competition in 2002.[3]

2004 Grand Final brawl

In the 2004 Grand Final between the North Cairns Tigers and the Port Douglas Crocs, a wild and violent bench-clearing brawl [4][5] erupted after Tigers players charged at the Crocs huddle at the end of the national anthem, and the brawl escalated when spectators and team officials became involved. This caused widespread media publicity around Australia, and sparked the biggest investigation in the history of Australian Rules Football.

The instigator, former VFL/AFL player and Tigers coach Jason Love, was suspended for eight years (three years for a total of eleven charges arising from the melee, including striking three opposition players and abusing and threatening the field umpires when they went to report him, and five years for bringing the game of Australian Rules Football in Queensland into disrepute), and the 22 North Cairns players were suspended for a total of 400 matches, suspensions ranging from 10 matches to five years, for various charges in relation to the brawl. AFL Cairns declared the Grand Final a "no result" and withheld the 2004 premiership.

Manunda Hawks Omission from 2015 season

In 2014 the Manunda Hawks forfeited an away game against Port Douglas due to the concern for the safety of a player that was threatened via social media.[6] The league reacted by suspending the club for the 2015 season.[7]



Club Colors Nickname Home ground Joined Premiers Premier years
CairnsSaintsGriffiths Park1993131994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015
Cairns CityLionsHolloways Beach197021982, 1983
Centrals-Trinity BeachBulldogsCrathern Park1962121967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1989,
1990, 1992, 1993, 1997
ManundaHawksCazaly's Stadium198441987, 2006, 2007, 2011
North CairnsTigersWatsons Oval1956101958, 1959, 1976. 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988
Port Douglas CrocsSporting Complex198961991, 2001, 2005, 2014, 2016, 2017,2018
Pyramid PowerPowerPower Park20160
South CairnsCuttersFretwell Park195691956, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1972, 2003


Club Colors Years competing Premiers
Aloomba-Gordonvale [note 1]1957–601
Babinda Magpies1958–713
Balaclava [note 2]1960–620
Centrals [note 3]1958–610
Innisfail Roos1958, 1980, 1982–830
Mareeba Saints1980–820
Tinaroo Falls/Tolga-Tinaroo [note 4]1957–581
  1. Merged with Centrals to form Centrals-Aloomba.
  2. Merged with South Cairns to form Souths-Balaclava
  3. Merged with Aloomba to form Centrals-Aloomba
  4. Under each name for one season

Junior clubs



  • Tableland Pythons
  • Redlynch Lions
  • Babinda Magpies
  • Cairns City Cobras (Cairns Cities)

AFL Players

Notable players from the AFL Cairns who went on to play at VFL/AFL level include


  • Port Douglas Sporting Complex (Port Douglas Crocs)
  • Fretwell Park (South Cairns Cutters)
  • Cazaly's Stadium (Manunda Hawks)
  • Watsons Oval (North Cairns Tigers)
  • Crathern Park (Centrals Bulldogs)
  • Holloways Beach Sporting Complex (Cairns City Lions)
  • Griffiths Park (Cairns Saints)
  • Power Park (Pyramid Power)
  • Redlynch State College Oval (Junior Training)

2009 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
South Cairns 1701023631241190.41%681st SemiCairns Saints2011131Manunda Hawks1712114
Centrals Trinity Beach 1404023061347171.20%562nd SemiSouth Cairns1615111Centrals Trinity Beach1610106
Cairns Saints 1107021521566137.42%44PreliminaryCairns Saints2015135Centrals Trinity Beach11571
Manunda Hawks 100801903209390.92%40GrandCairns Saints168104South Cairns12981
Port Douglas401401471240661.14%16
Cairns City Cobras401401185204557.95%16
North Cairns301501424210667.62%12

2010 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Port Douglas 1800028261155244.68%721st SemiCentrals Trinity Beach131492Manunda Hawks91670
Cairns Saints 1206021311453146.66%482nd SemiCairns Saints121284Port Douglas101171
Manunda Hawks 1008019821838107.83%40PreliminaryPort Douglas1625121Centrals Trinity Beach4630
Centrals Trinity Beach 90901701189989.57%36GrandCairns Saints1716118Port Douglas12880
North Cairns701101750190292.01%28
Cairns City Cobras601201434199271.99%24
South Cairns101701136272141.75%4

2011 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Manunda Hawks 1632023811366174.30%761st SemiPort Douglas1516106Centrals Trinity Beach9862
Cairns Saints 1533023671383171.15%722nd SemiCairns Saints2316154Manunda Hawks9862
Port Douglas 1434023371474158.55%68PreliminaryManunda Hawks141195Port Douglas13886
Centrals Trinity Beach 8310018171726105.27%44GrandManunda Hawks14993Cairns Saints81058
North Cairns631201617230070.30%36
South Cairns431401654199982.74%28
Cairns City Lions03180956288133.18%12

2012 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Cairns Saints 173103197976327.56%801st SemiManunda Hawks2113139South Cairns9862
North Cairns 1335020721463141.63%642nd SemiCairns Saints3111197North Cairns61248
Manunda Hawks 1137017961711104.97%56PreliminaryManunda Hawks1811119North Cairns131189
South Cairns 93901691204282.81%48GrandCairns Saints2410154Manunda Hawks169105
Port Douglas831001785189794.10%44
Centrals Trinity Beach331501091265141.15%24
Cairns City Lions231601567245963.73%20

2013 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
North Cairns 1632024601157212.62%761st SemiPort Douglas111884South Cairns81159
Cairns Saints 1533023541247188.77%722nd SemiCairns Saints81462North Cairns71052
Port Douglas 1335021061413149.04%64PreliminaryNorth Cairns218134Port Douglas91670
South Cairns 731101659201782.25%40GrandCairns Saints177109North Cairns111985
Manunda Hawks531301470188577.98%32
Centrals Trinity Beach531301221230552.97%32
Cairns City Lions231601408265453.05%20

2014 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
South Cairns 1532119631084181.09%741st SemiPort Douglas1716118North Cairns11672
Cairns Saints 1433119981101181.47%702nd SemiCairns Saints186114South Cairns11672
Port Douglas 1235120691176175.94%62PreliminaryPort Douglas121183South Cairns10464
North Cairns 731011253163376.73%42GrandPort Douglas1510100Cairns Saints13684
Cairns City Lions631201684205981.79%36
Manunda Hawks43131987169958.09%30
Centrals Trinity Beach231511087230047.26%22

2015 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Port Douglas 1602020141083185.96%641st SemiCairns Saints141599Centrals Trinity Beach61248
South Cairns 1206019211202159.82%482nd SemiSouth Cairns141195Port Douglas111480
Cairns Saints 1107019171236155.10%44PreliminaryCairns Saints141195Port Douglas111480
Centrals Trinity Beach 909016591482111.94%36GrandCairns Saints141296South Cairns13987
Cairns City Lions501301459200072.95%20
North Cairns10170881284830.93%4

2016 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Port Douglas 173102265841269.32%801st SemiCentrals Trinity Beach131088Cairns Saints13785
South Cairns 1533020861281162.84%722nd SemiSouth Cairns13987Port Douglas71355
Centrals Trinity Beach 1038017681498118.02%52PreliminaryPort Douglas2413157Centrals Trinity Beach4428
Cairns Saints 1038015861368115.94%52GrandPort Douglas1715117South Cairns14791
Cairns City Lions631201306181771.88%36
Manunda Tigers531301264170174.31%32
North Cairns03180825259431.80%12

2017 Ladder

AFL Cairns Wins Byes Losses Draws For Against % Pts Final Team G B Pts Team G B Pts
Port Douglas 183003041788385.91%841st SemiManunda141498South Cairns131189
Centrals Trinity Beach 1236023691204196.76%602nd SemiPort Douglas111884Centrals Trinity Beach8654
South Cairns 1137020071270158.03%56PreliminaryManunda1513103Centrals Trinity Beach91670
Manunda Hawks 1137020951469142.61%56GrandPort Douglas2119145Manunda11470
Cairns Saints8310017211653104.11%44
North Cairns331501010232243.50%24
Cairns City Lions0318034038778.77%12


Below is the complete list of senior premiers in the AFL Cairns:[8]

  • 1956 South Cairns
  • 1957 Tinaroo Falls
  • 1958 North Cairns
  • 1959 North Cairns
  • 1960 Aloomba
  • 1961 Babinda
  • 1962 Babinda
  • 1963 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1964 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1965 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1966 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1967 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1968 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1969 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1970 Babinda
  • 1971 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1972 Souths/Balaclava
  • 1973 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1974 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1975 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1976 North Cairns
  • 1977 North Cairns
  • 1978 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1979 Centrals/Aloomba
  • 1980 North Cairns
  • 1981 North Cairns
  • 1982 City United
  • 1983 City United
  • 1984 North Cairns
  • 1985 North Cairns
  • 1986 North Cairns
  • 1987 Manunda Hawks
  • 1988 North Cairns
  • 1989 Centrals/Trinity Beach
  • 1990 Centrals/Trinity Beach
  • 1991 Port Douglas
  • 1992 Centrals/Trinity Beach
  • 1993 Centrals/Trinity Beach
  • 1994 Cairns Saints
  • 1995 Cairns Saints
  • 1996 Cairns Saints
  • 1997 Centrals/Trinity Beach
  • 1998 Cairns Saints
  • 1999 Cairns Saints
  • 2000 Cairns Saints
  • 2001 Port Douglas
  • 2002 Cairns Saints
  • 2003 South Cairns
  • 2004 Title withheld
  • 2005 Port Douglas
  • 2006 Manunda Hawks
  • 2007 Manunda Hawks
  • 2008 Cairns Saints
  • 2009 Cairns Saints
  • 2010 Cairns Saints
  • 2011 Manunda Hawks
  • 2012 Cairns Saints
  • 2013 Cairns Saints
  • 2014 Port Douglas
  • 2015 Cairns Saints
  • 2016 Port Douglas
  • 2017 Port Douglas
  • 2018 Port Douglas

AFL Cairns Senior Grand Final Results (Formerly Known as "Cairns AFL")

Year Winning Club Score Losing Club Score
1956South CairnsN/ANorth CairnsN/A
1957Tinaroo Falls10.12 (72)Innisfail Roos6.9 (45)
1958North CairnsN/AN/AN/A
1959North CairnsN/AN/AN/A
1960Aloomba GordonvaleN/ACentralsN/A
1961Babinda MagpiesN/ASouths BalaclavaN/A
1962Babinda MagpiesN/ASouths BalaclavaN/A
1963Souths Balaclava11.11 (77)Babinda Magpies10.7 (67)
1964Souths Balaclava17.8 (110)Centrals8.13 (61)
1965Souths Balaclava11.16 (82)Babinda Magpies8.9 (57)
1966Souths Balaclava8.15 (63)Centrals Aloomba8.9 (57)
1967Centrals AloombaN/ASouths BalaclavaN/A
1968Souths BalaclavaN/AN/AN/A
1969Centrals Aloomba10.11 (71)Souths Balaclava8.10 (58)
1970Babinda13.6 (84)Souths Balaclava11.15 (81)
1971Souths BalaclavaN/AN/AN/A
1972Souths BalaclavadefeatedCentrals AloombaScore N/A
1973Centrals Aloomba11.11 (77)North Cairns10-13 (73)
1974Centrals AloombaN/AN/AN/A
1975Centrals AloombaN/AN/AN/A
1976North CairnsN/AN/AN/A
1977North CairnsN/AN/AN/A
1978Centrals AloombaN/AN/AN/A
1979Centrals AloombaN/AN/AN/A
1980North Cairns19.16 (130)Centrals Aloomba9.9 (63)
1981North Cairns20.20 (140)Souths Balaclava13.9 (87)
1982City UnitedN/AN/AN/A
1983City UnitedN/AN/AN/A
1984North CairnsN/AN/AN/A
1985North Cairns14.14 (98)Souths Balaclava11.8 (74)
1986North Cairns13.12 (90)Centrals Aloomba11.8 (74)
1987Manunda Hawks14.12 (96)Centrals Aloomba14.10 (94)
1988North Cairns17.13 (115)Centrals Aloomba11.11 (77)
1989Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs22.23 (155)North Cairns Tigers13.6 (84)
1990Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs23.16 (154)Port Douglas Crocs7.12 (54)
1991Port Douglas CrocsN/aCity's CobrasN/A
1992Centrals Trinity Beach BulldogsN/ACity's CobrasN/A
1993Centrals Trinity Beach BulldogsN/ACairns SaintsN/A
1994Cairns SaintsN/ACity's CobrasN/A
1995Cairns Saints6.7 (43)Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs12.14 (86)
1996Cairns SaintsN/ACentrals Trinity Beach BulldogsN/A
1997Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs20.10 (130)Port Douglas Crocs5.9 (39)
1998Cairns Saints9.11 (65)Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs9.5 (59)
1999Cairns Saints19.18 (132)Port Douglas Crocs9.5 (59)
2000Cairns Saints15.10 (100)Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs3.7 (25)
2001Port Douglas Crocs7.8 (50)South Cairns Cutters5.16 (46)
2002Cairns Saints17.3 (105)South Cairns Cutters9.15 (69)
2003South Cairns Cutters11.16 (82)North Cairns Tigers6.10 (46)
20041North Cairns Tigers16.10 (106)Port Douglas Crocs8.10 (58)
2005Port Douglas Crocs11.10 (76)South Cairns Cutters11.9 (75)
2006Manunda Hawks18.11 (119)South Cairns Cutters8.8 (56)
2007Manunda Hawks18.7 (115)Cairns Saints13.16 (94)
2008Cairns Saints14.19 (103)South Cairns Cutters5.16 (46)
2009Cairns Saints16.8 (104)South Cairns Cutters12.9 (81)
2010Cairns Saints17.16 (118)Port Douglas Crocs12.8 (80)
2011Manunda Hawks14.9 (93)Cairns Saints8.10 (58)
2012Cairns Saints24.10 (154)Manunda Hawks16.9 (105)
2013Cairns Saints17.7 (109)North Cairns Tigers11.19 (85)

1 The 2004 A Grade Grand Final was declared a "no result" and the Premiership Cup withheld.

Recent AFL Cairns Reserve Grade Grand Final Results

Year Premiers Score Runners Up Score
2003Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs14.11 (95)North Cairns6.7 (43)
2004Port Douglas Crocs17.13 (115)North Cairns Tigers8.9 (57)
2005Port Douglas Crocs19.14 (128)Cairns Saints4.11 (35)
2006Manunda Hawks11.11 (77)Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs10.9 (69)
2007Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs14.16 (100)Cairns Saints11.2 (68)
2008Cairns Saints12.15 (87)North Cairns Tigers2.9 (21)
2009South Cairns Cutters9.11 (65)Cairns Saints9.4 (58)
2010North Cairns Tigers8.10 (58)Port Douglas Crocs8.5 (53)
2011Manunda Hawks11.8 (74)Port Douglas Crocs6.9 (45)
2012Cairns Saints17.6 (108)North Cairns Tigers11.12 (78)
2013North Cairns Tigers14.14 (98)Port Douglas Crocs13.6 (84)
2014Port Douglas18.14 (122)Cairns Saints5.4 (34)

AFL Cairns Reserves Premierships Summary List 1962-2014

Club Premiers
North Cairns Tigers12
Centrals Trinity Beach Bulldogs (Formerly Centrals Aloomba)11
Cairns City Lions (Formerly City United/Cobras)6
Babinda Magpies6
Port Douglas Crocs5
South Cairns Cutters (Formerly Souths Balaclava)4
Cairns Saints3
Manunda Hawks3
Westcourt Demons2
Mareeba Saints1

See also


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