On Sunday the 8th July the biannual ‘Yorga’s Koodjal Kadadjiny’, meaning Women’s Two Way Learning Match, was played at Perth Demon’s Football Club as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Following the success of the inaugural match in 2010, the WAWFL was keen to make this year’s game even bigger and better, bringing on board a Yorga Match Committee, the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC), and major sponsor; Kooya Consultancy. Assistance from the Department of Sport and Recreation and Noongar Radio, ensured promotion of the game reached an extended audience.
This year’s match featured an Indigenous All-Stars team up against the WA Women’s Football League All-Stars side. The game celebrated indigenous Australian women’s love of playing football; promoting reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous players. Being an alcohol, smoke and drug free event, the match aimed to promote healthy lifestyle messages to all involved.
The match paid tribute to Sharon Woods and Elizabeth Kickett, who were significant contributors to the WAWFL during its formative years. Elizabeth Kickett has since passed away from cancer and in her memory; the WAWFL was raising awareness for Breast Cancer Care WA the most common form of cancer experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; and non-indigenous women alike. The entry fee of a gold coin donation raised an exceptional $624.85 for Breast Cancer Care WA throughout the day.
The interest this year from indigenous players was overwhelming providing the basis for a selection match which was played at Claremont Football Oval on the 26th of May, to finalise the Indigenous All Stars team. The WAWFL All-Stars were nominated by their coaches and selected by the Yorga’s Match Committee.
Both teams were exposed to quality training sessions from recently appointed WA State Women’s Head Coach, Sandover Medallist and former Fremantle Docker; Neil Mildenhall and Swan Districts Player Development Officer; Steve Thompson. Two joint training sessions were hosted at Dianella Open Space, home of the Dianella Morely AFC. Peter Farmer was commissioned to design the playing jumpers that will be unique to the Yorga Match.
Mildenhall led the Indigenous All-Star team, while the WAWFL All-Star Team was coached by State Women’s Assistant coach and East Fremantle Women’s Head Coach; Nikki Harwood.
A performance by a Didgeridoo player and lessons during half time of the main game saw the crowd getting involved in the celebrations.
With a score line of 14.12.96 – 2.3.15 the Indigenous All-Stars won quite convincingly in the end however the game was never about the score. The smiles and laughter shared on and off the field which deemed the game a great success. An abundance of skill was shown by many players; Kira Phillips from Gnowangerup Football Club kicked four goals and was presented the Sharon Woods Medallion for best on ground. Kira Phillips now has another medallion to add to her collection after representing WA in the Under 18’s Youth Girls National Championships and receiving All Australian status.
Deja Clanton-Yarran captained the Indigenous All-Stars to back-to-back wins in the biannual match, where she said she was honoured to receive the ‘Lil’ Kickett memorial shield on behalf of the winning side from Tony Kickett (representing the Kickett Family).
This truly was a day that brought everyone together; families, friends, presidents and affiliates of WAWFL clubs, special guests; including sponsors, WAWFL life members, WAFC representatives, Sharon Woods and the Kickett family (representing Elizabeth Kickett).
The interest and talent just shows that this game is going to continue to grow in the future, thank you again to everyone that supported this event.