- Monday 10 October 2016
- Written by Peta Cooper
Hundreds of football and netball players are bound for Bendigo this weekend to showcase their sporting talents in the 2016 Senior Statewide Koori Football and Netball Carnival.
This year, 23 football teams, 43 netball teams and 2 women’s AFL 9s sides will compete at the Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve on October 15 and 16.
Registration opens at 6.30am on Saturday, with matches to start from 8am and continue throughout the day and into the evening. The official Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony is at 1pm.
The action resumes at 8am on Sunday, with grand finals to be held at 12.30pm (footy div 2), 2pm (footy div 1 and netball div 2), 2.30pm (netball div 2) and 3pm (netball div 1).
The carnival is an initiative of Victorian Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation and has been held in different towns across Victoria for more than 30 years.
This is the second year in a row it is being hosted by Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative, in conjunction with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
Up to 5000 people are expected to gather for the sporting extravaganza and BDAC Chief Executive Officer Raylene Harradine said she was looking forward to a colourful and highly contested event.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to bring our communities together and strengthen relationships, while also showcasing our sporting talent and culture to the wider community,” Ms Harradine said.
“We have seen an increase of registrations this year in both football and netball, which shows that we enjoy participating and watching our talented mobs from across the state.
“My message for the weekend is, ‘play safe, be safe’.
The theme for the carnival is Murrun Dhelk, which means “living good health” in the Jarra language, and it promotes healthy active lifestyles to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Key messages include the importance of regular eye health checks and managing diabetes, and the benefits of drinking water instead of sports and soft drinks.
The weekend also features a variety of cultural and family-friendly activities including Indigenous hip hop dancing and DJs, Specky Dreaming and Net Set Go clinics, Ultimate Frisbee, food and health promotion stalls, face painting and performances from the Australian Defence Force Band.
Organisers are encouraging the wider community to come along and support the event. Teams can include up to two non-Indigenous athletes each, in recognition of inclusiveness and the fact that many Aboriginal people have strong family and friendship links to people from all walks of life.
Former Brisbane Lions AFL player Chris Johnson will be in attendance to run a women’s AFL 9s exhibition match and to identify coaches to be included in a new diversity coaching academy.
“We want to provide opportunities for growth and boost the number of indigenous coaches at all levels of the game, but particularly within the AFL,” he said.
“Indigenous players make up 9 per cent of our AFL player list, but we only have two indigenous coaches. It doesn’t make sense that we have so many people playing the game, but so few at coaching level.”
The 2016 Murrun Dhelk Carnival is an alcohol and drug-free event. See below for program details or click on the following links to read about some of the teams coming to Bendigo for the event.
Saturday – 15 October, 2016
Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve
6.30am: Registration Opens
7.30am: Managers Meeting
8.00am: Netball and Football Games Commence
12 noon-3pm Specky Dreaming
1pm Presentation - Chris Johnson, AFL
2pm-3.30pm Indigenous hip hop
4.30pm Rodney Carter, Group Chief Executive Officer, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
Barry Fary, BDAC chairperson, Welcome from BDAC
5pm Presentation, the Honourable Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Local Government and Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins
Jason Mifsud, Aboriginal Victoria
5.30pm: Australian Defence Force Band
7.30pm: Netball Finish (approximate)
9.20pm: Football Finish (approximate)
Sunday – 16 October, 2016
Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve
8.00am: Netball games commence
9.30am: Football Final
10.20am: Football Final
12.30pm: Football Grand Final –Division 2
1.00pm: Netball Semi Final – Division 3
1.30pm: Netball Semi Final – Division 2
2.00pm: Football Grand Final – Division 1
2.00pm: Grand Final – Division 3
2.30pm: Grand Final – Division 2
3.00pm: Grand Final – Division 1