GALLERY: Nicky Winmar Carnival brings together future AFL stars

TALENTED Aboriginal footy players will have their skills on show this Sunday at the 2014 Nicky Winmar Carnival.

Held at  Bendigo Bank Stadium the event features teams of under-15’s playing in a round-robin style with the first game at 10am.

Coordinated by the West Australian Football Commission and sponsored by the Department of Sport and Recreation, the carnival provides an opportunity for talented young players to be identified by WAFL clubs and given the opportunity to develop their skills.

Regional players from all over the State are placed into teams based on geographic WAFL zones.

For the first time teams from the Pilbara will join the carnival.

Participants will get the opportunity to play under the guidance of former AFL players, including coach Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls and representing the Wirrpanda Foundation, Troy Cook and Dale Kickett.

An Aboriginal Sports development officer for the Department of Sport and Recreation, Antoni Grover, played 202 games with the Fremantle Dockers and is currently an assistant coach with the State 18s.  

He says the carnival provides a wonderful opportunity for players to develop their skills and grab the attention of WAFL clubs.

“This event provides a real opportunity for young footy players to have their talent recognised,” says Mr Grover.

“It’s also a great chance for those not already involved in local footy clubs to participate in the carnival.

“We hope to see some of these players offered a place in WAFL development pathways. After last year’s carnival, we know many of the boys were asked to try out for district squads and a good number have transitioned into community football.”

Aboriginal Sports Development Officer, Trevor Stack from the Department of Sport and Recreation said the Nicky Winmar Cup had become an important event for Western Australian Football.

“The opportunities for development both for athletes and administrators open the door to future pathways for our aboriginal youth,” he said. 

In order to participate, all players, coaches and support staff are required to have a health screening check at the carnival, courtesy of local agencies.

The screenings have been developed in partnership with the Department of Health’s Aboriginal Health Division.

The regional teams will be staying at the Department of Sport and Recreation’s camps Point Walter and Woodman Point and will be doing education workshops while there.

The Nicky Winmar Carnival is the only carnival in Australia that provides the opportunity for youth and coaches to have a direct link to feed into the National KickStart model by selecting a state team. The WAFC also recognises the carnival as a legitimate talent pathway.

The Peel players were presented with their jumpers on Wednesday night.

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