Football carnival showcases indigenous culture

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Justin FrisSouth Western Times
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Carlton great Syd Jackson and carnival organiser Les Wallam with some youngsters who will be playing in the GWABA carnival.
Camera IconCarlton great Syd Jackson and carnival organiser Les Wallam with some youngsters who will be playing in the GWABA carnival. Credit: Justin Fris

Football fans will be in for a treat on Saturday with the 2019 GWABA Bunbury football carnival showcasing indigenous culture and talent.

Held across Hands Oval and Kelly Park, 12 teams from across WA will compete for the Syd Jackson Cup, with the former East Perth and Carlton great on hand to congratulate the winners.

Ahead of the carnival, organiser Les Wallam shared with the South Western Times how much the event had grown over 19 years.

“We were going to go with 10 teams like we did last year and 16 nominated,” he said. “So we scurried around trying to get a third oval so we could accommodate them, but unfortunately we could not get a third oval.

“So what we decided to do was expand it from 10 to 12 teams, with six on each oval. It is the first time that we have done this combination, but it will be good with 12 teams. From the early days of the carnival to now, it just keeps getting better and better.”

Jackson, who starred with South Bunbury prior to his illustrious VFL career with the Blues, still gets a real buzz from watching youngsters playing in the carnival, particularly on Hands Oval.

“Even standing on my old ground here, it brings back a lot of memories,” he said. “We had a lot of great battles with Carey Park, Boyanup-Capel-Dardanup, Bunbury and Collie. They were real battles out here and it was where I got my football grounding.”

Off the field, Wallam also believes the carnival has a signifiant purpose.

“For close extended families to meet in a positive environment like this where you watch young people play footy is special,” he said.

The grand final will be held at Hands Oval from 6pm.

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