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Friday, May 29 2020 @ 06:11 am ACST

Danger On Groote Eylandt

Not the name of a new horror flick, but actually a pleasant by-product of the AFL off-season where players often end up visiting remote parts of the country. Sometimes it is for promotional reasons, other times personal. But for Groote Eylandt it barely matters why – to have Geelong superstar, Patrick Dangerfield, visit is a local sensation.

Groote Eylandt is located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, about 50 kilometres from the Arnhem Land coast of the Northern Territory. The locals love their footy, and for their Community Football Day at Alyangulu, the Groote Eylandt Football League invited the 2016 Brownlow Medallist to be the guest umpire.

After the BBQ lunch and NGA Cats Clinic, Dangerfield partnered with Bomber Farrell to umpire the local exhibition match between the Groote Eylandt Cats and the Djarrak Hawks. Organised in conjunction with the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation’s Football Program, the match featured local Groote Eylandt talent playing against the Djarrak team from Galiwinku on Elcho Island – a community and island to the north of the Arnhem Land coast.
Word from the match suggest that Dangerfield had “all the right moves” as an umpire, but also when mingling with the people of the local communities, especially the kids. For the record, the Djarrak Hawks were too good in the end for the local Groote Island Cats, but the score was the least of anyone’s thoughts.

The day was a wonderful success and tribute to the efforts of the many people who put in the hard work to not only get teams on the field, but to travel from so far away across one of the more remote and least visited parts of Australia. The logistics and costs of staging such an event can be appreciated far better with a quick look at a map of the region - and it was all in the name of Australian Rules football.

To have someone of the calibre of Patrick Dangerfield come to the island and be such a significant part of an island celebration would have cheered the hearts of many.

For more information of football on both Groote Eylandt and Elcho Island, these stories from World Footy News give some insight. For a look at footy on Groote Eylandt, see Groote Eylandt Football – Brave New Worlds. For more on footy on Elcho Island, see Galiwinku – An “Island Home” to Aussie Rules Footy.

Photos: AFLNT

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