How we're backing country footy

We’re turning our focus to grassroots footy in Australia. Here’s what that means for Australia’s NRL and AFL-loving towns.
Michael Ackland · 05 September 2023 · 3 minute read


Man 1: G’day Mick. Bad news, we’re never going to make it.


Woman 1: But today’s the final!


Woman 1: Did you let Rocket drive?


Man 1: No [pause] Maybe. We're gonna have to Forfeit.


Woman 1: Nah, leave it with me


Woman 1: Forfeit my ass!


Woman 1: G'day Jacko you up for a run?


Man 2: Oh Mick, I’m pretty flat out mate.


Man 2: Alright, Pothole: you're in charge.


Man 3: and on the fourth day the Lord created…the rest. Amen!


Man 4: Can I play wing?


Woman 1: Yeah! Get in!


Woman 2: But I’ve never played before


Woman 1: You'll be right






Woman 1: Come on, it’s game time!




Man 5: How they going?


Man 1: They're getting smashed.


TITLE: Telstra Logo and NRL Logo. "Proudly backing country footy for yonks"

For over 20 years, we’ve been backing footy in Australia. But we’re about more than just the big games and names up in city lights. Grassroots footy and the communities that thrive around it are important to us too.

In country towns all over Australia, footy is more than just a game. It’s more than just a kick-to-kick every weekend. For the kids that play, it’s a lifestyle. And they’re supported by everyone from Cath in the local tuckshop to the parents who give up their time to coach, referee or just cut oranges for half-time.

But like all things, these grassroots need watering to grow. Otherwise, these country towns would lose the spark that country footy brings.

We want to support the hometown heroes who make country footy possible with the help of our friends in the big smoke: the NRL and AFL.

Funding grassroots AFL


AFL is part of our national identity, and for many, it’s what provides a deep sense of community. We want to sustain and grow the game all over the country by providing an opportunity for local clubs to get much-needed funding, whether that be for new goal post pads or even volunteer resources. 

Together with the AFL, we’ll be offering a nationwide funding pool of $2 million each year for four years as part of the Telstra Footy Country Grants to help sustain and grow local footy. 

Submissions will be open for applications from early 2024 to junior and senior AFL clubs across Australia (both metro and regional) giving them the opportunity to request funding up to $20,000 to cover a broad range of needs.    

We’ll be opening the applications at from February 2024. We’ll have a guide on exactly how to apply for those grants so you can put your best boot forward. Further information can also be found at:  


Bringing NRL to town for good

We’re teaming up with the NRL to hit the road and support grassroots footy across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria with the NRL Telstra Footy Country Tour.

Starting 6 September and running through to the Grand Final on 1 October, the tour is designed to give kids access to star players, footy clinics and community events to develop new skills and progress their game.

We’ll engage with over 55 schools and clubs, approximately 10,000 kids and regional community participants, starting in the remote community of Aurukun in far North Queensland.

We’ll also be leaving behind, at identified schools and clubs, a rugby league pack filled with new gear to help equip and inspire the next generation nationally. 

And to make sure these towns have what they need to make footy a permenent staple, we’re bringing back the Telstra Junior Club Grants initiative: over $200,000 worth of grants to 72 country clubs across the country. That’s $3000 per club, with a focus on clubs that need it the most. These funds are vital to cover everything from player development through to new equipment and registration fees.

This is footy country - the locals bringing the game to life

Whether you’re an AFL or NRL fan, footy is an intrinsic part of our culture. 

It forms part of our identity, who we are as a nation. It defines our competitive nature, our sense of mateship and the importance of community.

And it’s in the country where this relationship between footy and community runs deepest.

We’re launching the This Is Footy Country campaign to shine a light on grassroots sport that is often under-resourced and underappreciated.

Through its distinct visuals, the campaign celebrates the heart and soul of the local footy club community, including the many players, supporters, fans and volunteers that all make such a valuable contribution to the club.

We’ve worked with Mark Molloy (a former Waubra Kangaroos Football Club member turned Hollywood director) to produce a TV ad spotlighting country footy.

You’ll also see billboards shot by Cory White that present a window into the diverse regional communities across Australia and their unique relationships with footy.