Fremantle’s Next Generation Academy has returned to the Kimberley this week.
NGA coach Tendai Mzungu takes us through day one of the trip alongside Indigenous liaison officer Michael Johnson and NGA coordinator Wade Spilcker.
Monday 3 September
With the alarm sounding at 5.30am, we prepped for a morning session at East Kimberley College, with the young boys from the Clontarf Academy.
The training focused on football fundamentals. For some, this would be the first of three football sessions for the day.
Clontarf uses football as a vehicle to keep kids engaged with school, so after each early morning training session, they provide a cooked brekky for players and staff.
Once again, WA Police attended and gave a presentation on their Cadet programs across the state.
After the presentation Michael and I snuck off to do an interview with the local Waringarri Radio Station to talk about our NGA program and what we were up to across the region.
At 11.30am the local derby took place. A match between the East Kimberley College primary school students and St.Joseph’s Primary.
St.Joseph’s implemented the surprise tactic of playing 40 players on the ground. It worked as they built the wall across their half forward line. There would have been upwards of 15 girls playing in the game and playing at a really high level.
The game was played in great spirits and despite the 60 on-field players, there were some great passages of play and many students stood out with their speed and ability.
Later that day it was time for the older kids to play a game.
Two teams, made up of generally years 7-9 students (with a couple of 11 year olds up having another game).
Michael and myself coached a team each, in collaboration with the local police, while Wade umpired (his controversial 50m penalty will be talked about for years to come).
It was a hot afternoon, with the boys playing 4 x 15 min quarters with no rotations.
The boys fought it out until the last minute, with Johnno’s team proving too strong.
We presented a couple of FFC jumpers to players in our team who displayed the best team values on the day.
There is no structured junior football in Kununurra (outside of football carnivals), so this recent initiative from coaches/teachers in the area, provides extra development opportunities for these kids, which will have a big impact on their football going forward.
We rounded out Day two with a female football training session for women of all ages. There were 30 in attendance, ranging from 11-50.
With Wade’s strong involvement in the AFLW program, it was an opportunity for them to hear about the pathways that now exist for women in the Kimberley, who want the same opportunities as the men.
After a long day it was time to pack the football and bibs away and head off for a much needed shower.