Leisure Network to put inclusion at forefront of sport

March 6, 2024 BY

From left, players Cooper Anic, Sam Moorfoot, Riley Brown, Shauna Maslen, Andy Bugg, and Nathan Heinrich. Photos: CHARLIE YOUNG

LEISURE Networks aims to spread inclusion sports even more far and wide in 2024 and have locked in a series of dates for activations and community events.

The local not-for-profit disability and support services organisation will kick off the calendar year with a Specialist Schools AFL Gala Day on March 19.

It will be played on St Mary’s Oval, next to GMHBA Stadium, and involve six schools from across the Greater Geelong region.

April 27 will be the official start date for the much anticipated second annual AFL Barwon All Abilities Football League.

Round one will again be hosted by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust on the hallowed turf of GMHBA Stadium.

Reigning premiers Bell Park and Geelong West will play first, followed by St Josephs and Newcomb in game two.

Sean Atkinson (AFL Barwon), Sam Moorfoot (St Josephs), David Meade (Leisure Networks) Cooper Anic (Bell Park), Luke Maher (Leisure Networks), Riley Brown (St Josephs) and Sophie Allison (AFL Barwon).


The season will run for eight rounds, with finals slated for the middle of August.

In May, the Geelong United All Abilities Basketball Winter competition, a huge hit over the past two years of play, will return.

The competition will be tailored for players aged 15 years and over and feature five local clubs – Sharks, Bobcats, Try Boys, Lara Giants and Rovers.

Players of all levels and abilities are welcome.

Sam Moorfoot (St Josephs Football), Mark Neeld (Geelong United Basketball), Sophie Allison (AFL Barwon) Shauna Maslen (Newcomb Netball), David Meade (Leisure Networks) and Nathan Heinrich (Rovers).


Leisure Networks program co-ordinator Luke Maher said he was excited for a jam-packed first half of the year.

“Over the next couple of months, we will be seeing ‘inclusion’ at the forefront of sport in Geelong.

“We are very lucky in our region that we have a vehicle in sport to assist us on delivering our goal of providing opportunities for those living with a disability.

“We cannot wait to see new initiatives through 2024.”

Back Row: David Meade (Leisure Networks), Sophie Allison (AFL Barwon), Mark Neeld (Geelong United), Sean Atkinson (AFL Barwon), Connie Bolger (Geelong United), Luke Maher (Leisure Networks). Front Row: Sam Moorfoot, Cooper Anic, Andy Bugg, Nathan Heinrich, Riley Brown, Shauna Maslen.


Leisure Networks chief executive officer David Meade agreed.

“Our whole purpose at Leisure Networks is to connect people with community. Sport is such an important vehicle to make this happen,” he said.

“Sport provides incredible rewards, from participating on the field or on a court – both physical and mental – but there’s also all the social benefits of being part of a sporting club.

“Our focus in All Abilities Sport is two-fold, it’s about healthy minds and bodies and it’s about elevating inclusion in every aspect of our local clubs.

To see the full calendar of events in 2024, head to leisurenetworks.org