Fiji’s first Australian football matches were informally organised and played in 2003 under the direction and enthusiasm of Aussie Fiji Police Commissioner, Andrew Hughes. In 2005, AFL match results and commentary became a weekly fixture in the coverage of weekend sport in the Fiji Daily Post newspaper.
The newspaper’s manager, Mesake Koroi, had formerly worked under Hughes as the Fiji Police Public Relations officer. When Hughes departed his commission, his Police-initiated matches lapsed, although newspaper coverage continued to feed local interest.
In July 2009, in response to urging from Richmond and Port Adelaide Fiji-born recruit, David Rodan, AFL Asia-Pacific boss, Andrew Cadzow, turned up in Suva and called a public meeting of interested locals. Fourteen people attended, AFL Fiji stems from that initial engagement with the core support coming from volunteers - mostly players’ parents.
Preparations for Fiji's IC11 debut began in January 2011 after several players responded to a newspaper ad. Over the next month, 60 players were recruited and trained twice weekly at Suva’s Albert Park under the supervision of Development Officer Glen Butler and local AFL Fiji volunteer officers and support staff.
The Tribe was seeded fourteenth in the competition and exceeded expectations, ending up first in the second division after beating France in the Grand Final and thirteenth overall, a very positive start for the Fijians.