2019 KRSP/Claremont Football Club Kimberley Road Trip – Western Leg Report

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 4:50 PM

KRSP Kimberley Trip 
by Kepler Bradley

The Kimberley is one of our two regional zones along with the Great Southern in the south. Current AFL stars Jack Martin, Sam Petrevski-Seton & Joel Hamling have all come from the area, through the Claremont Talent pathway before forging their AFL careers. We are extremely proud of our links; In 2018 Keifer Yu became the first player from the region to play 100 League games for the Tigers, Liam Henry is playing some outstanding colts and state footy and is widely touted to be a top ten AFL draft pick, and currently CJ Oakley & Anthony Tracey running rings around WAFL defenders for the Claremont League side. 

Making the move to come down is a considerable commitment for players and their families and one which we have long tried to assist the best way we can. The club leases a house in Mount Claremont and subsidises rent for players from the region to help them settle being one example – this has been in operation for nearly 20 years. Every year we visit the region to help promote the game and the pathway and are forever amazed at the work being done by Garnduwa and WAFC employees on the ground. In recent years KRSP have provided significant financial support in allowing our colts group to travel to the region and play against a representative side. This year we approached it a little differently.

The aim of this trip was to reach as many communities and locals in the Kimberly region as possible, teaching the kids the importance of being healthy, going to school, playing football and making friends. We had a travel party of seven which included myself, senior coach Darren Harris, club captain Ian Richardson, league players Jack Beeck, Christopher Oakley & Anthony Treacy and our camera man Cameron Branch. Below is the itinerary from our five-day trip.

Wednesday
We arrived in Broome on Wednesday morning and picked up some food supplies before heading on a two-hour drive south to Bidydanga where we were staying overnight. When we arrived at Bidydanga we took 40 kids from the Bidydanga primary school for a one-hour football clinic which involved kicking, goal kicking and marking stations. After the clinic we handed out some of our Claremont gear to the kids and then took the Bidyganga woman’s football team for an hour-long training session which included kicking, marking, tackling and handballing drills.

Thursday
We rose early on Thursday morning and split into two groups. Ian Richardson, Jack Beeck, Christopher Oakley and Cameron Branch left early to umpire and help out at the Eagles cup carnival in Broome which had five schools and roughly 80 participants involved. Darren Harris, myself and Anthony Treacy stayed in Bidydanga to run a clinic for the high school students. The students introduced us to a game called “board game” which is basically football on the basketball court, where you score by hitting the back board. We played this game for nearly two hours and were left stunned by the skills of the kids playing. We then made our way up to Broome to meet the other boys and get involved with junior training. Once junior training was completed our CFC players trained with the Cable Beach football team.  While the boys were training Darren Harris got involved with the Level 2 coaching course by answering questions and offering a great insight into his coaching philosophy and how we run our Senior program at Claremont football Club. To follow this, the CFC players attended a special dinner which was held to honour Brett Claudius, a former Perth Football club player who contributed a lot to the Broome community, and had sadly passed in 2018. 

Friday
We woke early to travel to Djarindjin primary school. When we arrived, we were introduced to the kids and then went onto the beach where Christopher Oakley, Jack Beeck and Anthony Treacy ran a warm up before we played a game. The game was played on the beach in the most beautiful setting. There would have been at least 50 kids playing in the game whilst the locals sat in the sand dunes and under marquees watching. Darren was the goal umpire, Anthony and Ian took the role of field umpires whilst Jack, Christopher & myself played in the game. After the game we presented the school with CFC shirts, footballs and boots and you could not wipe the smile off the kids faces. We then camped the night with Christopher and Anthony showing us how to fish and crab. Christopher took us to his special fishing spot off the rocks where we all had a go - Christopher caught two fish but no luck for the rest of us. We then went mud crabbing in the mangroves where we were quite a bit luckier, walking away with nine crabs which we cooked back on the fire at our camp site while the sunset.

Saturday
We woke up at sun rise and made our way back to Broome where we watched junior football and Darren had some further interaction with a couple of coaches that were on the level 2 coaching course. We then watched the senior football where I played for the Bidydanga Emus and Cameron Branch for the Towns. The game was played in great spirit with the skill level being a real highlight. After the senior game we watched the woman’s teams play and like the seniors the skills of the woman were outstanding.

This trip would not have been possible without the help of KRSP who funded the trip, Tom and Andy from Garnduwa who supplied us cars and camping gear, Eamon from the Commission who was our tour guide and helped with our trip itinerary and finally the CFC travelling party. A big thankyou from the Claremont football club for making the trip a memorable one for both the locals and travelling party.

Reflections

By Darren Harris

The benefits for myself and Kepler Bradley to visit our football zone in the Kimberley was enormous. We were able to build relationships with the quality Kimberley staff who do a brilliant job in providing opportunities for the whole football community. This includes all Junior and Senior competitions both men and women and the schools. There is a number of passionate teachers making a massive impact as well.

The growth of football and excitement shown by the women and how this has been embraced by the whole Kimberley community was very impressive. When we went to training at the local oval 5 teams were sharing the space with two of these teams senior men and two senior women’s teams. People everywhere enjoying themselves created a great atmosphere.
It felt very humbling to witness the appreciation of our visit by all the children, coaches, teachers, players and football staff. I was surprised at this impact. I think the fact that we all joined in the activities, games, fun etc meant rapport was built quickly. Whenever we ran into the children we had coached at clinics they would engage us with bumps, handshakes, thumbs up, Knick names etc. 

Having our WAFL players there including two of our Indigenous players in CJ and Anthony and two of our Leaders including the Captain Ian Cho and Jack Beeck. Cj Oakley and Anthony Treacey both spoke to the school children in the remote communities about their experiences and opportunities that the Claremont FC provided. They both talked about the support and the fact that they are both working. We felt pretty proud to be able to help and provide this opportunity and by them sharing this message they had the biggest impact on the kids.

It was great for all of us from Perth to see CJ and Anthony in their element. They knew everyone and stopped and talked to and greeted all of them. In the bush, watching both boys fish, catch crabs, cook, and more made it easy to understand why it is so hard to leave home and stay. This again gave us all more perspective on if we want our indigenous players from the Kimberley to be successful we must keep them connected with home. I took a great photo of CJ and his two younger brothers who were extremely cheeky and gave CJ a hard time. Made us laugh.

Personally I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity we were given by KRSP and The Claremont FC to educate ourselves more on the Zone we service. This experience will help us to plan more effectively and follow up the great work Darcy Coffey, Warren Parker and Ross McQueen to name a few have done previously. Our goal has got to be to have more Kiefer Yu’s. 100 game players, returning home with partners, children, employment and Claremont for Life.

The Kimberley, Great people, great energy, amazing talent, doing some great things.