Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Essendon’s first to fourth year players have returned to the club for pre-season training, and the first order of business has been visiting communities across the “Top End” of the Northern Territory. Natalie MacGregor has reported on the club’s website that star Bomber, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, and the rest of the touring squad visited Maningrida, on the north coast of Arnhem Land approximately 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Giving back to the community is important to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Visiting the remote indigenous community of Maningrida, West Arnhem Land, as part of the Club’s ‘Right of Passage’ camp with first to fourth year players this week, McDonald-Tipungwuti said the group would benefit greatly from the experience.
“The players will take a lot away from the whole experience,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
“For our young players to meet the kids, come out to the community, most of them haven’t been to a remote community before so it’s a good experience for them to see how it is and get out of their comfort zone and share their stories,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
“We had handball, kicking, bouncing and marking activities – skills that we do playing AFL so we wanted to teach the kids and encourage them to work on their skills.
Maningrida is in Essendon’s Next Generation Academy Zone. The visit included footy clinics, education sessions and a traditional welcome to country dance from the local students.
“There are talented kids up here, hopefully they can develop more with Essendon being here. It’s good for us to come here and hopefully teach them and hopefully get a few more players in the AFL,” McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
“It’s good to come out and share our experience with them and encourage them, that if they want to back an AFL player, this is what they need to do.
“It’s really good coming back and seeing the kids again and doing football clinics with them. It’s been a fantastic day and the boys have all really enjoyed it.”
Earlier in the week the Essendon players visited the Michael Long Learning & Leadership Centre in Darwin. Whilst there they spent time with former club legend and centre patron, Michael Long, as well as some of the boys from the Lajamanu community. Lajamanu is located to the north of the Tanami Desert, around 890 kilometres south of Darwin. Not only did the community kids get to meet their football idols, including Michael Long, they also “enjoyed playing football on green grass this week compared to the ochre sand of the Lajamanu football ground.”
The Essendon players will also get to experience the joys of NTFL football whilst in Darwin. They will be guests at the weekend’s clash between home team Waratah and the Tiwi Bombers – both teams desperate for a win to keep their finals hopes alive.
According to the club’s website at http://www.essendonfc.com.au/ :
“Essendon’s first to fourth year players will head to the Northern Territory on Monday evening for the Club’s bi-annual ‘Rite of Passage’ camp.
The players will travel to Darwin and the Bombers Next Generation Academy zones in West Arnhem Land and Tiwi Islands as part of the weeklong visit to the top end.
Senior Coach, John Worsfold, said the camp provided a number of opportunities for the Club’s younger players.
“The Rite of Passage Camp involves cultural learning and awareness, history of the club and its relationship with the Tiwi Islands and communities in Darwin, some footy work and some other educational pieces,” Worsfold said.
Natalie MacGregor’s original story can be found at: http://www.essendonfc.com.au/news/2017-11-15/wallas-maningrida-experience
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