- Wednesday 12 October 2016
- Written by Peta Cooper
Members of three SGB Yakapna teams will keep family memories close to their hearts when they take part in the Senior Statewide Koori Football and Netball Carnival in Bendigo this weekend.
The men and women who wear the purple, white and blue uniforms of this newly formed sporting group are playing in honour of family elders Selwyn and Geraldine Briggs, who both passed on more than 10 years ago.
“Everyone in the teams are family – either direct descendants or partners of descendants,” explains grand-daughter and netballer Keilara Briggs.
“We all got together this year and it came from my cousin Levi and my uncle Rupey. In other years we have all been thrown into different teams but they thought it would be good to play as a family.
“It’s important for us to stick together and do it for Nan and Pop. They were both keen sports people – Pop was involved in a lot of teams and Nan was always such a big supporter.”
The SGB Yakapna uniforms were designed by netball player Roxanne Atkinson and feature family representations in Geraldine’s favourite colour, purple, and the blue of the Murray River on a white background.
Keilara says the division two football team and the division two and three netball sides feature a fantastic mix of age ranges and abilities.
“Some are currently playing at a high level and others just playing socially,” she says. “And then we have got some family who haven’t played in years but because it is representing Nan and Pop, they’ve said they are coming out of retirement to give it a go!”
The extended Briggs family originally hails from Shepparton and are from the Yorta Yorta people.
Keilara says she and fellow co-ordinators Graham Briggs, Levi Power and Rupey Briggs hope everyone involved in the teams has a fantastic time playing together as one united family.
“We’d love to win it, especially being our very first year,” she says. “That would be great, but even more important than that is simply going out there and having fun for Nan and Pop.”
The 2016 Senior Statewide Koori Football and Netball Carnival is an initiative of Victorian Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation and has been held 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.
Matches begin at 8am on Saturday, October 15, at the Epsom Recreation Reserve and continue through to finals and presentations on Sunday afternoon. A range of family-friendly and cultural activities will also be held, with the theme of Murrun Dhelk, or “Living Good Health”.