All is set and ready to go for the inaugural Gippsland Koorie Football and Netball carnival this weekend.
The day will include football and netball matches, as well as an under 15 feature games in both sports between East Gippsland and Central West Gippsland.
Indigenous Sport Development Officer Peter Mongta said the carnival was created because the statewide competition disbanded 18 months ago.
“For about 30 years there was a statewide Koorie football and netball carnival,” Mongta said.
“But about 18 months ago, it sadly collapsed for a few reasons, but we were keen to keep something going.
“It was a really significant event because for many people in Koorie communities, the only other time they might come together is at funerals.”
With the hard work and enthusiasm of the broader and Indigenous communities of Gippsland, the Buderji Napan Koorie Sports Committee was able to organise a Gippsland carnival, including sponsored uniforms for the Central West Gippsland teams.
The Central West Gippsland teams have had two training sessions to date, including a visit from Loy Yang B Gippsland Power coach, Nick Stevens.
“The boys were so excited to be learning from such an experienced player,” Mongta said.
“It’s been great to see everyone so organised and positive really looking forward to the carnival.”
Mongta said participation was the primary aim of the carnival, as Budjeri Napan wanted to help people get involved in the wider community.
“Hopefully after being involved with the carnival, people will enjoy it and consider joining a local team full time,” he said.
“Getting out and engaging with the community is so important especially if you are in a rut, not to mention the physical health benefits of exercising.”
Mongta said Indigenous communities across Victroria have approached the Budjeri Napan, wanting to be involved in the carnival.
However for the first year, Mongta said they want to see what happens.
“Depending on our success this year, next year we might consider a bigger competition with other communities,” he said.
The carnival will be held on Sunday at Ronald Reserve, Morwell East beginning at 10am.
The day will include activities for people of all ages, such as Australian rules and netball clinics, 100-metre sprint challenges and kicking accuracy competitions.
Free ‘pitstop’ health checks will also be available and are encouraged.
For more information phone Peter Mongta on 0407 875 784.