This weekend was the annual State Aboriginal Football and Netball event. Teams from around the state gathered to compete in a weekend of skill, determination and competition. Sponsored by the Social Inclusion Unit , Narrungga Sports, SANFL and the Dept of Communications, Information, Technology and the Arts and hosted by the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council, the event set an example for all other sporting events, in that it was an alcohol free weekend.
Wouldn’t it be great to see that at all Australian sporting events?
Friday night was the opening with the Welcome to Narrungga Land, the Kurruru Dancers and a host of fantastic musicians.
Sal and I attended the Sports carnival to film highlights that were to be shown at the Sunday night cabaret prior to the trophy awards.
Unfortunately the event was cancelled due to ‘security issues’. There seemed to be an extremely high level of concern in the small country town where the event was held…I was astounded that such an important social and presentation event could be cancelled so suddenly.
I did not see the main stream media covering the Sports carnival, considering the words of prominent football coaches such as Kevin Sheedy:
“Essendon Coach Kevin Sheedy said: “Indigenous footballers have made a sensational contribution to Australian Football. The skill, flare, creativity and excitement they have generated, and continue to generate, is something special and has helped build the popularity of this great game. Dreamtime at the G is an appropriate stage to recognise that contribution and the important role that football has played in building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia”(source AFL website)
…..it seems to me that a once a year event which show cases some of the very the best Aboriginal sports men and women in the state was deserving of a much higher profile and coverage in the print and electronic media.
Here are the banners of the ten communities competing in the Football and Netball competitions:
I was able to capture of the images of some of the (very exciting) netball rounds…but was not able to take stills of the football as planned.
However ADAC sponsored the making of the short highlights film – Sal has captured some great moments… and I am sure if people are interested they can contact the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council.
The football competition was defined by the skill and athelticism that AFL recruiters have come to appreciate amongst Aboriginal footballers.
As a non-footballer my favourite team had to be the Yalata team …running on to the field in their club colours was a true marriage of sport and art…fantastic shirts and shorts in wonderful desert colours.
Next year the annual Sports and Cultural Festival will be held in Adelaide and I hope we see a much higher profile with no cancellation of the much anticipated cabaret.