Paul Kelly Cup fires in the Central West

Photo: Belinda Soole, Daily Liberal


The extensive search to find NSW and the ACT’s best primary school football teams has begun in haste, with the central west experiencing a footy explosion in the past couple of weeks.

Four local gala days were held from 20-24 February, with almost 1,000 boys and girls pulling on the boots in summery conditions to have a crack at Australian football.


Growth in the west

AFL NSW/ACT considered the 2022 Paul Kelly Cup a big year in the central west of NSW, but 2023 is off the charts!

There was a 60 per cent increase in team entries in 2023, with 26 schools playing in Cowra, Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange. Each of the 17 schools from 2022 returning to contest the Paul Kelly Cup, with eight of them entering more teams than last year.


Road to Sydney and the path to glory

On Friday, 3 March, Waratah Sports Club, Orange will host the best schools from last week’s four gala days:


Holy Family Catholic Primary School, KelsoSt Philomena’s Catholic Primary School, Bathurst
Cathedral Catholic Primary School, BathurstHoly Family Catholic Primary School, Kelso
St John’s Catholic Primary School, DubboOrana Heights Public School, Dubbo
Orana Heights Public School, DubboSt Pius X Catholic Primary School, Dubbo
Canowindra Public SchoolSt John’s Catholic Primary School, Dubbo
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, OrangeSt Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Dubbo
Forbes Public School
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Orange


The best boys and girls teams will move into the GWS Regional Finals later in the year. The winner of that gets a shot at the state finals.

It’s a long road, but with around 600 teams across the state and territory entered for the Paul Kelly Cup, AFL NSW/ACT needs to give every team the best chance to beat the best, and be the best.


Image: Bradley Jurd, Western Advocate


School support from AFL NSW/ACT

If your school wants to get involved in AFL, whether it is the Paul Kelly Cup, through before, during or after school clinics, or in the classroom there are resources available at

The AFL has also recently announced the National Schools Grants Program, which gives schools up to $500 to get involved in footy!