For the first time, Martu youth from the Western Desert communities of Nullagine, Kiwirrkurra, Parnngurr and Punmu have participated in the Kirby Bentley Cup and the Nicki Winmar Carnival, both held recently in Perth. The Kirby Bentley Cup is a 9-a-side round-robin tournament for Aboriginal girls aged 13 to 15 years of age. The Nicky Winmar Carnival is also an annual round-robin tournament targeting Aboriginal male youth aged 13 to 15. Both tournaments, held in early March, feature teams representing both metropolitan and regional WA.
These tournaments provide young Aboriginal girls and boys with great opportunities – to put their skills on display, be linked to local football clubs, and be identified for the State talent pathway. A total 17 Western Desert boys (9) and girls (8) were selected by Vicki Agnew, the WA Football Commission’s Regional Development Manager in the Pilbara region, to represent the area as the Pilbara Hawks and Magpies.
“What a fantastic first-time experience for these Martu girls and boys from the Western Desert to play for the Pilbara in the Kirby Bentley Cup and the Nicki Winmar carnival in Perth,” Vicki said. “Both on and off the field, they were great role models and their communities should be proud of their performances and positive attitude throughout. “I must also thank Newcrest Mining Ltd and Ngurra Kujungka for providing travel assistance and support to enable these players and adult guardians to attend these events,” Vicki said.
As reported in the December 2017 Martu Sports Online edition 18, the Council voted on developing pathway opportunities for Martu Youth and, consequently, Parnngurr Councillor Murphy Williams was invited to attend the tournaments and report back to the Council on progress made with pathways through the WAFC. Additionally, adult guardians Ashwin Biljabu from Punmu and Ruot Marwang from Kiwirrkurra also attended the tournaments with their players.
Ngurra Kujungka also extends its sincere gratitude to Murphy, Ashwin and Ruot for supporting these footballers. Prior to competition kicking off, Murphy and NK Program Manager Mike McMonigal held discussions with Kim Hannah, Game Development Coordinator from the Naitanui Academy and Swan Districts Football Club CEO, Jeff Dennis.
Mike’s comments on these discussions: “Since Ben Bryant introduced Adam Selwood from the Naitanui Academy to Ngurra Kujungka last year, our relationship with that organisation has gone from strength to strength.
“ This time Murphy and I were fortunate to chat with Kim Hannah about future training opportunities for Martu.
“Our first meeting with Jeff Dennis was very positive and we are looking forward to further discussions with Jeff and Ward Harris, Player Development Officer for the Swan Districts Football Club. The good news is both organisations have accepted an invitation to attend the July Youth Festival in Punmu, with a view to talent identification, along with Vicki Agnew from the WAFC.