Football carnival a showcase of talent

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Syd Jackson and GWABA carnival organiser Les Wallam are excited about Saturday, with indigenous talent from across WA travelling to Bunbury for the event, which promotes respect and unity.
Camera IconSyd Jackson and GWABA carnival organiser Les Wallam are excited about Saturday, with indigenous talent from across WA travelling to Bunbury for the event, which promotes respect and unity. Credit: Justin Fris

If you love watching blistering speed, high marks and breathtaking acts of skill on a football field, you are in luck.

The highly anticipated GWABA indigenous football carnival will be held tomorrow across Hands Oval and Kelly Park from 9am, with 10 teams from across WA keen to showcase the full range of their talents in front of community elders, family and friends.

Winners on the day will receive the prized Syd Jackson Cup from the former Carlton, East Perth and South Bunbury legend himself.

However although football on the field is the final product, themes of respect and unity are equally important, according to carnival organiser Les Wallam.

“It’s a family and community event,” he said.

“And it promotes good messages. About respect and caring for each other – particularly for our elders.

“We pay a lot of due respect to our elders.

“They love coming down here and watching it and the young people playing. They shout for all of the teams.” In its 18th year, Wallam feels the carnival plays an integral part in the community, with its reputation for quality unwavering for several indigenous footballers in WA.

“For us as an organisation, it’s about providing something that’s really needed in the community to bring people together,” he said.

“To give young ones an opportunity to display their skill but also encourage them as well.

“And then, you’ve got all the little ones – who go along and watch it. They then aspire to make these teams as well.”

Several former WAFL and AFL players are primed to play, following in the footsteps of AFL legends Byron Pickett and Leon Davis who are just two greats who have played at the carnival.

The event provides the opportunity for all players, including the rising stars, to learn from those with experience at the highest level.

“Now we get AFL players, WAFL players, ex AFL and WAFL players coming down to play, look and offer encouragement,” Wallam said.

“It’s really evolved into something spectacular.”

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