Talent spotters were on the lookout when nearly 350 Aboriginal boys from around Western Australia took to the footy field for the annual Nicky Winmar Cup.
More than 2,000 spectators cheered on the 15 teams (nine from the metropolitan area and six from regional WA) who played a thrilling round-robin series of 18-a-side games with 30 matches, two semi-finals and a grand final to complete the tournament.
Claremont was the overall winner, defeating the Great Southern, with Brenton Omar being named player of the match.
The carnival is a chance for young Aboriginal players to have their talent recognised by the West Australian Football League (WAFL) clubs and potentially find a pathway to a higher competition.
It’s also a selection platform for the AFL National Kickstart Championships with the five best players from each team selected to trial for the WA Kickstart team. These 75 players trained together before a 22-man squad was selected for the National Diversity Championships in New South Wales.
Community Engagement Coordinator – Metro South Liam Anthony said the event was a great success and the participants all took something away with them.
“The overall goal of the carnival is to increase the amount of Aboriginal youth and community members participating in clubs and development squads as either players, coaches or volunteers,” said Liam.
“The carnivals also provide members of the Aboriginal community with a direct opportunity to participate, achieve, connect and potentially be identified through development pathways.
“A huge focus was also placed on school attendance as a requirement for participants to be involved in the event.”
The carnival is coordinated by the West Australian Football Commission in partnership with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the City of Mandurah and sponsored by RediMed and the Australian Defence Force, Rio Tinto, Coles and Kennards.