Army Dominates At National AFL Carnival


The 2024 AFL National Carnival wrapped up in Melbourne last month, with Army women retaining their title and the men taking the silverware from Navy.

The round-robin tournament, from March 15 – 21, featured big wins and nail-biting losses.

With 30 shots on goal, Army men steamrolled Air Force by 80 points, winning their first game 110 to 30.

Army’s most valuable player, Corporal Josh Cheek, said the win lifted the team’s confidence and they went into their game against Navy with a point to prove.

Heading into the final break with a 47-point lead, the soldiers were easy victors over the sailors, increasing their winning lead to 79 points at the final siren.

“It felt like a much closer game,” Corporal Cheek said.

“I didn’t realise the score line was as wide as it was until I looked up after the match.”

Navy captain Petty Officer Daniel Hines said his team had an incredible past two years but the sailors didn’t give their best performance.

“We knew Army were too far ahead at three quarter time so we threw caution to the wind and tried new things,” Petty Officer Hines said.

“Unfortunately, the lead blew out but, in these tournaments, you don’t play for percentage, you play for the win.”

The women’s matches were tighter contests.

Air Force clocked a big win over Navy before their match against tournament favourites Army.

A late goal from the aviators brought the scores to 16 a piece with just minutes left.

The soldiers kicked a behind to edge in front and pushed hard into their forward 50 to keep RAAF on the back foot.

Aircraftwoman Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook took a clean sweep of the Air Force women’s individual awards, including best rookie, player’s player and coach’s player.

The ruck said her team came off a high going into their second match.

“We had our hopes up but Army have always been a strong team,” Aircraftwoman Hiller-Stanbrrok said.

“We came so close to winning and were disappointed with the result but we got around each other in the end.”

In the final game of the tournament, Army cruised through the first three quarters to overcome Navy.

The sailors mounted a late push but were unable to break the soldiers’ lead.

ADF women will play in the women’s All Stars game on Anzac Day, as a curtain-raiser for the Greater Western Sydney Giants versus Brisbane Lions game in Canberra.

The men play the following day at Adelaide Oval before the Port Adelaide versus St Kilda match.

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