Newcrest Mining Western Desert Shield 2014
An excited group of young men from the Western Desert which included, Warralong, Punmu, Nullagine, Jigalong and Parnngurr Community were given the opportunity to represent their communities in the Newcrest Mining Western Desert Shield. The young Martu men aged between 14 and 20 had a busy few days of training, team building and entertainment before the opportunity of playing a Curtain Raiser match at Patterson’s Stadium between the West Coast Eagles and the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
The team arrived in Perth on Friday morning after a long two day drive. After being fitted out with a brand new pair of boots and runners the boys made their way to Patterson’s Stadium for a behind the scenes tour of the West Coast Eagles change rooms. The boys then attended a jumper presentation evening at the Department of Sport & Recreation where past and current indigenous players from the West Coast Eagles attended, and shared inspirational stories with the aspiring youngsters of the Western Desert. The guys stayed at Woodman Point, where they spent a few days together building close friendships.
On Sunday (match day), the boys were super excited arriving at the ground in preparation to run out on an AFL ground for the first time. The boys split into two teams, Kakarra and Yuparra. Yuparra is martu language for West Side which consists of Warralong, Nullagine & Jigalong Communities and Kakarra, East Side which consists of Parnngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji & Kiwirrkurra Communities.
The game was fought out all day with a lot of heart showed from players on both teams. Unfortunately for Yuparra, Kakarra proved to be too strong, with Kieran Booth setting up play for most of the game from across half back. Tyler Fred was named Yuparra’s best with Brynal Booth taking out the best for Kakarra. Both teams can be very proud of their performances.
Playing on a stage like Patterson’s Stadium creates an unforgettable experience for the players and it will continue to generate enthusiasm for the development of sport and recreation in the Western Desert. It also gives participants the opportunity to be identified for their talent by scouts.
The Newcrest Mining Western Desert Shield match has become an event that draws a lot of attention. It is part of a broader Sport and Recreation Program developed by Ngurra Kujungka (Western Desert Sports Council) which aims to increase participation in physical activity across all levels and age demographics.