The Mt Isa football community is in shock and a state of grieving after a young footballer died last week after having collapsed in a match the previous weekend. The young man from the Lake Nash All Stars team (a community just 17 kilometres from the Northern Territory/Queensland border on the Territory side and roughly 375 kilometres by road from Mt Isa) collapsed after being taken from the ground.
The All Stars team travels each match day from Alpurrurulam (the correct name of the community) on a round trip of around 750 kilometres for opportunity to play.
According to the local North West Star newspaper, in an article by Samantha Walton:
The footy oval at the rear of Freshwater State School in Cairns is a delight. Conservatively, the eastern goals are possibly four feet higher than the western goals. Wind advantage is irrelevant. Whichever team wins the toss and kicks “downhill” gets the biggest advantage. On a good day, a kick from full back could roll through for a goal at the other end simply through inertia.
It also has a terrific “grandstand” with eager after-school care students lining their balcony to cheer on the home team. Parents mingle – some understanding the game at hand, others confused by the lack of calls for “knock-ons”, “offside”, “forward pass” or the whistle that signals a try. Such is life in a heavily Rugby League city. Though, that is changing.
Some of the greatest names in AFL/VFL and state football have made their way to the game from the Northern Territory. Not usually a location celebrated in the same tones as Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia or even Tasmania, the Territory has given us icons, legends and just some very good footballers.
Try this: Maurice Rioli (Richmond), Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn), Michael Long (Essendon), Nathan Buckley (Collingwood), Andrew Mcleod (Adelaide), Peter Burgoyne (Port Adelaide), Joel Bowden (Richmond) and so many more greats hail from the Northern Territory.
A brief look at the newest draftees, trades and rookies last year also boasts names like Jed Anderson (North Melbourne), Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Essendon) and Daniel Rioli (Richmond) who came to the game from the NT.
“I love coming up to Cairns. It is a break from Melbourne. We get to wear t-shirts and shorts which we can’t do down in Melbourne.”
Western Bulldogs’ champion Mitch Wallis has just created one of the best possible tourism slogans possible as he espouses a love affair with our northern city. Here in Cairns for his third AFL Premiership match against the Gold Coast Suns in the tropical north, Wallis was happy to profess his love for our region which he says is shared by the players and the club.
Maybe “love affair” isn’t quite the right term, but the Bulldogs have certainly turned Cazalys Stadium into a very happy hunting ground – and that alone is grounds for true love! In 2014 the Western Bulldogs turned on a six goal to two final-quarter to beat the suns by 28 points. They bettered that in 2015 with a blistering 10 goal final quarter to turn a 37 point deficit into a 22 point win.
Territory football fans will be able to see four more AFL matches on home turf following a new deal between the NT Government and AFL to stage two premiership matches in each of the 2017 and 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership seasons.
Chief Minister Adam Giles announced the agreement during Saturday’s clash between the Melbourne Demons and Fremantle Dockers at TIO Stadium in Darwin.
Mr Giles said the Territory Government was pleased to continue its partnership with the AFL and Melbourne, which will be the “home” club for all Territory matches.
“Melbourne has embraced the Territory through its support of community football, indigenous development and investment attraction,” Mr Giles said.
“AFL matches in Darwin and Alice Springs showcase the Territory to footy fans around the world.
The following media release from the AFLNT details the upcoming clash in Darwin this weekend between the Melbourne Demons, part of their agreement to play matches in the Northern Territory, and the Fremantle Dockers.
The game is sure to be exciting and attract a strong local crowd. The Demons are still in the mix mathematically for finals action and a win in Darwin may see them just two games out of the eight. The Dockers have endured a horrid season but are determined to turn their season around and a win in Darwin could be the catalyst for change.
The following is a story from the Coburg Football Club’s website which looks at how two of its Muslim footballers balance their celebration of Ramadan and football. Towards the end the article also looks at a cross-section of the cultural backgrounds of a club in suburban Melbourne – their case is not unique as the multicultural growth in footy goes from grass roots to the highest level. It is nevertheless an interesting example. The story by Adrian Dixon can be found at: http://coburgfc.com.au/lions-stars-embracing-culture/
One aspect that the Coburg Football Club prides itself on is its diversity with regards to its multiculturalism.
As the suburb of Coburg is based in the City of Moreland, there are many different cultures that represent the municipality, whether it be the background of their heritage or what religion they believe in.
And while the AFL encourages its clubs, at both league and state level to promote their multicultural stories among its players and staff, it provides great publicity for clubs like the Lions in order to increase its awareness.