Nicky Winmar, Kirby Bentley cups to showcase young footy talent in Mandurah

Hundreds of aspiring Aboriginal footballers will take to the field in Mandurah as the Nicky Winmar and Kirby Bentley cups play out at David Grays Arena later this month.

The respective male and female tournaments will be held in conjunction on Saturday, March 23, and will see talented junior aboriginal footballers from across the state participating in games.

The carnival offers youngsters the chance to gain more exposure as they pursue their footy dreams, with talent identification scouts from the WAFL scanning the field for potential players to fill their development programs.

It's also used as a selection platform for the AFL's Kickstart and Diversity Championships teams, which have paved the path for many Aboriginal footballers to be drafted.

WA Football Commission metro south districts operations manager Tom Atkinson said the talent identification aspect of the carnival was particularly important for young girls playing in the Kirby Bentley Cup.

"Because AFL Women's has only just taken off, there are so many young girls out there who are super talented at footy that we just haven't discovered yet," he said.

"We hope carnival's like this can open the door for those players to get recognised and go on to higher levels like the state leagues and the AFLW."

The event also acts as a celebration of culture, with a Welcome to Country ceremony opening the day before play kicks off.

Kirby Bentley Cup Peel team coach Isobel Bevis said it was encouraging to see the two tournaments come together on the same day.

"I think just giving this opportunity to young people wanting to play footy is a great thing," she said.

"It's a really family orientated day and football is obviously a real family orientated sport in Aboriginal culture, so to bring these kids closer to their own culture while playing footy is very special."

Last year saw 15,740 indigenous participants in WA, an 18 per cent increase on 2017's figures.

Sixteen teams will compete in the carnival, including squads from the Peel region and surrounding areas.

The Peel teams are currently on the lookout for volunteers to help on the day.

For more information or to get involved contact Tom Atkinson on 0438 912 015.