Fremantle’s Fans and Community Team have spent the last week embarking on a Regional Roadshow through Geraldton and its surrounding areas.
AFLW stars Aine Tighe, Mim Strom and Roxy Roux were onboard, joined by former Fremantle Docker and current NGA Coach Roger Hayden, as well as Fans & Community Coordinator Mitch Harvey.
Harvey detailed the extensive itinerary of the trip, which saw around 1000 participants involved in various football clinics, Q&A's and visits across the four day period.
Tuesday 26 April
We arrived in Geraldton and checked into our accommodation in the early afternoon.
Our first visit was to a junior club at GBSC Sports ground for the Chapman Valley Juniors. Aine, Roxy and Mim took the Youth Girls team for a skills session, while Roger took the under 16s boys team for a skills session.
Wednesday 27 April
We were up early on Wednesday morning to get to St Francis Primary School. The heavy rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the kids as we took two Year 4 classes for a fun skills clinic and finished off with a Q&A where the students got to learn more about the players and take home some Fremantle posters.
From there, we travelled to Wandina to deliver a clinic to the Wandina PS Year 2 class. As we waited for the rain to stop, the students took the chance to ask more questions of the players. Once the rain subsided, we were out on the oval and took the kids through some football activities.
After a quick lunch in town, we then travelled to Allendale Primary School where we were greeted by about 150 kids on the oval who knew we were coming and wanted to have a lunchtime kick to kick.
Once lunch finished, we had three classes of Year 6 students who had pre-prepared some questions before we rounded out the day with some fun football skill games and giveaways.
We had some quick time to unwind after the Allendale visits before we split the group up with Aine and Mim taking the Brigades Youth Girls team for a training session. Mim and Aine delivered drills which were modified versions of the ones they do at their own trainings to give the players a bit of a taste of the drills at AFLW level. They also provided tremendous insight into the life of an AFLW player as plenty of players were keen to hang back and chat with them.
Roxy and Roger went to the Geraldton Little Athletics track to visit the EFFC Midwest Talent Academy, where the girls and boys combined for a night of training. The level of skill and eagerness to learn was highly visible as Roger ran through some small sided games with the group who lapped up Roger’s knowledge and experience.
Thursday 28 April
First adventure for the day was a skills clinic and Q&A at Geraldton Grammar School, with the students displaying their competitive spirit, especially when it came to the goal kicking game at the end.
After this was a visit to the Stars Foundation (the female equivalent of Clontarf). This visit provided the opportunity to chat and share some food with female Indigenous students who were really keen to speak with Aine, Roxy and Mim about their career and footballing journey as many had aspirations to follow in their footsteps and become professional footballers.
We finished this off with a kick to kick and a quick handball game of footy slips.
The afternoon session was filled with a skills clinic and Q&A at St Johns Primary for the Year 5/6s and Rangeway’s for the Year 4/5s. Roger visited the Clontarf Foundation for a training session and a chat at Geraldton SHS.
All players then visited Towns Football Club at WA Country Builders Stadium to run a training session for the Youth Girls team whilst Roger travelled back to GBSC Park to watch the highly talented colts game between Northampton and Brigades.
Friday 29 April
We were up early for a Women in Leadership Breakfast Forum at the Geraldton Multipurpose Centre.
This event was organised and delivered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. Roxy, Mim and Aine formed a panel alongside:
- Lara Dalton MLA, Member for Geraldton
- Cr Cecilia Kelly, Councillor Shire of Mt Magnet, and,
- Avril Fahey, a former Australian Cricketer and active Director on boards including Diabetes WA, Western Australian Cricket Association and the School of Business and Law Advisory Board at Edith Cowan University.
Topics of discussion included females as connectors in the community, the journey and pathway now available for female aspiring athletes, culture and leadership, and the life of an elite sportswomen.
Around 60 local community members and businesses attended, with one Fremantle AFLW Signed Jumper and one Fremantle AFL Signed Jumper raffled off at the event.
Finally, the trip concluded with a visit to Nagel College where the players delivered a modified warm up, conditioning session and football training session for the female football teams.
The Fremantle Football Club would like to thank Midwest Regional Development Specialist Grady Tomelty, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the Midwest Academy of Sport, the East Fremantle Football Club and the wider Geraldton community.
Harvey said the trip had been a rewarding experience with around 1000 participants involved across the four day trip.
“It’s been quite busy, but a really rewarding trip!” Harvey said.
“Since we arrived on Tuesday, through the “Regional Roadshow” we have delivered nine school visits, two local male and female talent squad training sessions, school assembly visits, three junior club visits at Towns, Brigades and Chapman Valley JFCS, three youth girls training sessions and to finish off a “Women in leadership breakfast forum” with local businesses and stakeholders.
Harvey highlighted the Club’s importance of connecting with regional WA, and said it was great to be back amongst the community after the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past few years.
“Its really important that the Club continues to grow our connection in the community, especially regionally,” Harvey said.
“The roadshow concept has been created from discussions within our Fans and Community Department on how we can have more of a meaningful impact regionally, and after the success of the past week we will look to implement this concept in more regional areas in the future.
“Unfortunately like many places, COVID has had a huge impact on a number of our Fans and Community programs and events with a large contingent having to be postponed or cancelled over the past few years.
“It’s great to be able to get back out in the community and engage with our fans, but the past few years has also been a great opportunity to highlight areas of where we can improve our engagement in a virtual capacity.
“This is something our department is really keen to explore and will be a key focus of ours in the future.”