The choice of sport for many kids born in Canada is easy, Hockey. For Mississauga born Andrew McGrath his choice was much different. Pursue a track and field career that had seen him compete, and win, at five consecutive national championships? Or follow the dream of most Australian kids and play Australian Football.

John Worsfold, Senior Coach, and the Essendon Bombers are happy today with his choice, selecting him first overall in the 2016 AFL Draft following an exceptional 2016 TAC campaign.  

A hard-running, clean skilled half-back who can push into the midfield, Andrew’s final year in the TAC allowed him to stand out. But it was the TAC Cup final, where he was co-captain that elevated him to be selected first by the Bombers. When Ben Ainsworth (fourth overall in the 2016 draft) kicked four goals in the first three quarters, McGrath was tasked to shut him down. “It was a massive challenge and I loved it” McGrath said, who not only shut out Ainsworth but created opportunities up forward for his team mates with his run off the backlines.

Captain of Brighton Grammar, a top Football school in Melbourne and one of the best repeat sprint times at the AFL Combine rounded off his year. 

McGrath can’t remember much of Canada, moving to Australia with his family when he was only five, but he retains his citizenship and a distinct Canadian twang. Although he never played football in Canada, we are still proud of his historic achievement.


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About AFL Canada


AFL Canada (AFLC) is the Australian Football League (AFL) endorsed national governing body of Australian football in Canada.

AFL Canada was established in May 1989 when the first two clubs were formed and played in the inaugural Conacher Cup game in Toronto, Ontario. Since its launch into Canada, the game of Australian football has expanded to include:

  • 35 men's and women's teams from 20 clubs across six provinces.
  • Junior groups of 150 kids between the ages of 5 and 17.
  • International women’s team called the Northern Lights.
  • International men's team called the Northwind.
  • International junior’s team called the Wolfpack

AFLC mandate is to promote development and awareness of Australian football to Canadians and non-Canadians living in Canada. Work with the AFL and other AFL affiliated national governing bodies on furthering the interest of the sport. We also manage and oversee the national teams (Northwind, Northern Lights and Wolfpack).

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