Prologue: It was 2009 and a nine year old girl, Elisha King, was playing for Hambledon State School in their first ever girl’s carnival. Almost three years younger than most of the other girls on the field, Elisha had to be given special consideration to be allowed to play. Thankfully, she was allowed and was by far the best Hambo girl on the field, with three goals on the day, as the team finished runners-up to St Joseph’s school by a solitary point.
It was the start of my own three-year period of coaching Elisha in school teams, but more significantly, it was another step on a journey that has seen Elisha selected by the North Melbourne Kangaroos AFLW team. The girl who promised so much back when women’s and girls’ footy barely existed has made it to the highest level of the game – and that makes a great story.
Jodi King is one proud mum. It is almost certain that without incredible family support, Elisha would most likely not have made it this far. According to Jodi, “Elisha’s journey has been very long. She started at the age of six with Auskick. [Elisha’s early footy saw her] playing alongside [older brother] Hayden and watching [older brother again] Aaron play. At the age of nine, Elisha also got involved in basketball and hockey. It was very hard for Elisha to stay with footy and she was making rep teams in both hockey and footy.”
Back in 2012, World Footy News interviewed four indigenous teenagers about their football journey and where they might want to be one day (see From Paradise To The Pinnacle Of Success). With the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round of AFL football to take place this weekend across Australia – at grassroots level and the highest in the and – one of those young men looks back at his journey: in football and life, through indigenous eyes.
Josh Kyle now lives and plays footy in Melbourne – seemingly a million miles away from his spiritual and geographical home. His journey has been fascinating, yet it is one that many young indigenous players take to live a dream, and many more want to.
He is a born and bred Cairns boy, from Far North Queensland, first playing Australian football for Pyramid Power in the AFL Cairns competition and being a part of their Under 16 premiership team in 2013. But there is a strong sense that his journey could yet take him further than he ever dreamed.
With the commencement of the AFL's Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round this weekend, the following videos provide the perfect opportunity to be "standing together to celebrate indigenous excellence" - the binding statement that sums up the identity of the round.
This first video looks at highlights from some of the greatest indigenous footballers to have ever played the game. As a highlights reel, it is an absolute showcase of what makes our game so special. The second video looks at one of the legendary indigenous footballers in Graham "Polly" Farmer, who changed the game forever and forged a path for future indigenous footballers to follow.
With the weekend's Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round about to kick off, the AFL has released the magnificent club jumper designs. The following link takes you to the AFL's website http://www.afl.com.au with a specific page dedicated to the designs and stories that go with each club's jumpers.
Included in the snapshot are the design pictures, the name of the artist who deigned them and a small explanation of the symbolic story lines attached.The round starts tomorrow in Sydney when the Swans take on Carlton. The feature match of the weekend will see the Essendon Bombers take on the Richmond Tigers in the match billed as "Dreamtime at the 'G".
The following article from the AFLNT website details an historic curtain-raiser match on Sunday to the clash between the Melbourne demons and Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs. Whilst much of the focus will centre on the Round 10 AFL Premiership match, the match between the Redtails and the Storm will instil great pride and excitement in locals and all Territorians.
AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is pleased to announce the teams for XYZ game, which will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Toyota AFL Premiership Round 10 blockbuster between Melbourne and the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs this Sunday.
The two teams consist of some of the best talent Territory football has to offer, with players from Alice Springs and Darwin being joined by their remote teammates from regions such as Galiwin'ku, Gove, Groote Eylandt, Hermmansburg, Katherine, Lajamanu, Papunya, Tennant Creek, Ti-Tree, Tiwi Islands and Wadeye.
It would have to be the promoter’s dream for AFL Cairns – a match that will feature four ex-Cairns players in the one match. Three on one team, one on the other. Fans from the northern Australian city know the game is coming north – just a little too far north. Shanghai, China, to be exact.
When the Gold Coast Suns run out onto Jiangwan Stadium on Saturday, mathematically, one seventh of the team (give or take) will hail from the Far North Queensland city. It is a city that has hosted premiership matches at Cazalys Stadium, as well as plenty of lesser games pre-season games prior to that. Along the way, local talent has threatened to make an impact, but this weekend will see the biggest representation of Cairns talent to date.
The names of Long, Rioli, Motlop, Davey and others have graced AFL lists for decades. Each year, players from the Northern Territory are making their way onto the biggest stage. Last year’s draft saw Zac Bailey from Southern Districts selected by the Brisbane Lions at Pick 15, whilst St Mary’s ruckman Tony Olango was grabbed by the West Coast Eagles at Pick 27 in the Rookie Draft.
The following AFL Northern Territory Press Release looks a four NT prospects as they set themselves for the 2018 FL National Draft in November.
Four NT standouts selected for national Allies squad
After a competitive showing at this year’s Under 18 Academy Series, four NT Thunder players have been chosen for the national Allies squad and will vie for the opportunity to play against the next crop of AFL draftees, while also putting themselves in contention for a spot on an AFL list.
The 2018 AFL National Diversity Championships wrapped up last week in Blacktown, Sydney, with Western Australia and Victoria taking home the silverware. The U15 Kickstart indigenous team from Western Australia won their eighth consecutive title to remain the only state team to have ever won the competition since its inception. Victoria held on in a dramatic All-Nations final for multicultural teams.
The Kickstart Championships came into being back in 2011 as an elite pathway for under 15 indigenous players from across Australia. With exposure to elite coaching, support and facilities, the competition augmented the national Under 16 championships. Western Australia has been the dominant force since the inception of the carnival in 2011, and last week’s result continued a proud tradition.
The All-Nations competition is an opportunity for players from diverse multicultural backgrounds to bring their talents to a state level and after humble beginnings as a modified game for players, it is now a fully-fledged competition in its own right.
The following is a media release from AFL Northern Territory announcing selections in the national Kickstart and World teams from the recent Diversity Championships in Sydney.
AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is pleased to announce that seven young Territorians were named in Flying Boomerangs and World Team squads to play two exhibition matches at the 2017 NAB AFL Under-16 Championships on the Gold Coast in July.
Selected by AFL Club recruiters following the 2018 AFL National Male Diversity Championships held in Blacktown, the respective squads of 25 young men has been chosen based on school attendance, leadership skills, and football ability.
The AFL Flying Boomerangs program is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men aged 14-16 years old, supported by Rio Tinto. Meanwhile the World Team is made up of the best upcoming AFL multicultural players from across the nation.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed two-time Grammy and Academy Award winner Melissa Etheridge who is currently on tour in Australia with Sheryl Crow. Melissa has been in the music industry for 30 years and she said, “I am still in love with performing. I am still in love with sharing music with an audience. I still love the travel, the getting to see people and getting to new places. The award - that’s all fine and good - but the real stuff is in the journey everyday. Writing new music, performing the old hits and just loving it all.
Image Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS