Eagles soar to victory at indigenous comp

The Gippsland Eagles indigenous football team has won the division one title at the 2016 Murrun Dhelk Statewide Koori Football Netball Carnival held in Bendigo at the weekend.

In its first year in the premier division, the Eagles claimed an emphatic 13.3 (81) to 8.3 (51) win against the Fitzroy Stars in the grand final following two days of strong competition.

Eagles forward Jason Wells was the leading goal kicker in the top division, while Basil Sibasado was awarded best player in the grand final.

The team was made up of players from across the region, with representatives from the Latrobe Valley, Drouin, Warragul, Yarragon and Wonthaggi. In division three netball, Naomi Murphy from the Traralgon-based Sistagurls side won the award for leading goal scorer.

About 5000 indigenous athletes and spectators attended the carnival, celebrating their connections to country, community and competitive sport in a family-friendly environment.

While the on-field action was fierce, there was plenty of fun for those on the sidelines, with activities including Specky Dreaming clinics, face painting, indigenous hip hop and music.

The event also featured a performance by the Australian Defence Force Band in addition to health promotion tents offering information and advice.

There were also women’s football exhibition matches between the ADF and a team of Tiwi Islands youth girls for an ADF indigenous mentorship program.

Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative hosted the carnival in conjunction with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.