THE Swan Districts Football Club (SDFC) has been named Nicky Winmar Cup champions for 2015.
The annual carnival was held at the Bendigo Bank Stadium in Mandurah with more than 13 teams participating.
The carnival, named after WA indigenous icon Nicky Winmar, was created by the Department of Sport and Recreation with the WA Football Commission to provide young Aboriginals males with another platform to enter the WA Football talent pathway.
The aim is to target disengaged players and provide them with the opportunity to dive into community club football, while also providing talented players an avenue to the National KickStart Championships and WAFL Development Squads.
With more than 60 players representing Swans last year, SDFC targeted a strong 2015 campaign.
This year’s carnival was another step forward as the Swans continued to push the Nicky Winmar program through schools and clubs, building on work started late November of 2014 following a number of discussions with key schools such as La Salle College, Guildford Grammar School and Swan View Clontarf.
“Swans Nicky Winmar Program has been a telling success to the amount of man power and resources that have been poured into the program,” SDFC stated.
“Throughout the program, key planks have included SDFC operations manager Rick Anderson and SDFC player development officer Steve Thomson; while Guildford Grammar School Aboriginal liaison officer Andrew Beck, Lockridge Primary School’s Darius Scwarz and Swan View Clontarf’s Dan Toner have been kind enough to volunteer their time and effort into getting players here and assisting the district staff with training…”
Meanwhile, WA’s Under 15 indigenous football team were crowned Kickstart Champions at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns after remaining undefeated throughout the tournament from April 11 to 15.
It was the fifth consecutive year that WA has won the championships.
WA player Ryan Bennell starred for the KickStart team and was voted most valuable player of the tournament, while Joe Hinder was recognised with WA’s team most valuable player award.
Mr Bennell and Mr Hinder were among 10 WA players selected for the All-Australian Flying Boomerangs team along with Mitch Henry, Eli Hill, Arthur Jones, Zach Merrit, Heath Ryder, Duane Smith, Sydney Stack and Durack Tucker.
WA coach Shaye Hayden said he was extremely proud of the playing group for their motivation, commitment and success at the championships.
“This team was comprised of a very talented group of young men that were highly motivated and committed to the WA Kickstart program,” he said.
“Given WA’s previous results, the team carried a weight of expectation, but this group of players were determined to create their own legacy and accepted all challenges.
“The players were able to showcase their talent on a national stage and by playing to a very high standard were able to make their families, people and their state proud by successfully completing an undefeated championship.
“The results of the WA Kickstart team over the past five years is a testament to the pathway programs that have been put in place by the WAFC [West Australian Football Commission], and [a] reward for its commitment to the talent identification and promotion of young Aboriginal footballers in WA.”