The Newcrest Mining Western Desert Football Shield has involved representative squads drawn from each of the eight Western Desert communities travelling about 1500km to Perth to participate in an exhibition match prior to AFL games, and in the National Softball Championships.
The Shield involves two teams – Yapurra, western communities Warralong, Nullagine, Jigalong and Parnpajinya; playing Kakarra, eastern communities Kiwirrkurra, Kunawarritji, Punmu and Parnngurr.
The Shield provides opportunities to participate on a big stage in Perth, together with training and education programs in coaching and umpiring accreditation.
The Newcrest Mining Western Desert Football Shield has been held every two years as a curtain-raiser game to an AFL fixture at Subiaco Oval. The 2017 Martu squads had a busy few days of training, team building and entertainment before the opportunity of running onto Domain Stadium became a reality. The game was fought hard throughout, with exciting skills on display for the AFL scouts and players watching from the sidelines. Yapurra proved to be too strong, with the final score being 49 points to 33.
The 2018 Newcrest Mining Western Desert Softball Tour was held in January, with the support of Softball WA. Women from the eight remote Western Desert communities travelled to Perth to participate in an exciting week of softball competition and education.
The 20 Martu women were excited and equally anxious with the attention they received when they arrived at Softball WA to watch the Australian Open Women’s national softball championships, prior to their first game. They were also proud to receive their playing shirts at a jumper presentation and keen to represent their communities well during the week, which comprised three exhibition games.
The Western Desert League offers competitions for the Martu in Australian Rules football for men, softball for women, and basketball for children. The league has delivered up to three major events each season, each hosted in rotation between the eight different Martu communities throughout the Western Desert.
The 2017 Newcrest Mining Limited Western Desert League Premiership teams were decided in Parnngurr. The WDL Festival promised to be hot – both on and off the field – with teams hoping to secure bragging rights for another year in a fierce battle in both football, softball and junior basketball competitions.
Community members travelled hundreds of kilometres to be part of the week-long festivities. During the women’s grand final, the Punmu softball team struggled to clear the bases, enabling the host team Parnngurr to secure the 2017 Newcrest Mining Limited Western Desert League Softball Champions Trophy. Punmu defeated Parnngurr in the men’s football competition, running out convincing winners by 56 points.
Ngurra Kujungka’s Martu School Holiday Program offers a variety of activities including sport, healthy eating and cooking, arts and crafts, music and educational workshops that see participants learn new skills that can be put into practise over the weeks following the activities.
The Martu School Holiday Program provides excellent opportunities for Ngurra Kujungka to work closely with many regional stakeholders which enables the organisation to develop partnerships and relationships.
Ngurra Kujungka is proudly supported by the Criminal Property Confiscation Grants Program through the Department of the Attorney General, Newcrest Mining Limited, Healthway and the Pilbara Development Commission.
Ngurra Kujungka’s primary objective is to drive improvements in health, training, employment and education for the people of the Western desert, with Ngurra Kujungka providing opportunities for employment for Martu community members in community.
Ngurra Kujungka has employed Recreation officers in each Western Desert communities, with their primary role being to deliver continuous daily activity to school aged children in community. Activities such as football, basketball, softball, netball and cricket are delivered before and after school hours to help improve school attendance.
As a result of this, Ngurra Kujungka is continuing to build capacity within the community by offering professional development opportunities to these Martu Recreational Officers. Ngurra Kujungka is proud to report that several Martu Recreation Officers and coaches have become qualified Level 1 Australian Rules Football coaches and qualified teachers in Swimming and Water Safety in 2017