Drew Petrie drops in to mentor the Pilbara’s rising stars

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VideoRetired Eagles ruckman running the yo-yo test alongside some of the Pilbara's young footy talent three days into his new role as WCE academies head coach

Achieving “greatness” can mean playing at the highest level for your local sports club, according to retired West Coast Eagles ruckman Drew Petrie.

Just three days into his new role as West Coast Eagles academy head coach, Petrie visited Karratha last weekend as part of the V Swans Strength to Succeed program.

Petrie said while many aspired to represent their State and country, there was just as much honour in representing your suburb, town and region.

“Everyone aspires to do something great in life, and for someone that might be to play footy here in Karratha at the highest level,” he said.

“If playing local football here in Karratha is what they aspire to do, then that is what we do.

“We just want to teach the kids to be as good as they can be and apply themselves at every level in every situation.”

Onslow V Swans active education development manager Kaiden Matera said the V Swans program was setting Pilbara children up with pathways should they want to take their sports further.

“The Strength 2 Succeed program is giving kids, who may not get seen because they aren’t down in Perth playing WAFL, the opportunity to showcase their talent,” he said.

“Hopefully in the future it will lead to a few more kids from up here getting drafted.”

V Swans high-performance/justice manager and Fremantle Dockers women’s captain Kara Donnellan said the program taught life skills to help keep kids off the street.

“We want more kids off the street, playing sport and keeping out of trouble,” she said.

“At the end of the day if you want to make it in the AFL or any elite sport you have to do the work at school and tick all the right boxes.

“We want them to take something away, and for West Coast and Swan Districts to have a bit of a scout and potentially give some of these kids an opportunity down in Perth.”

Donnellan said the advent of AFLW had led to more young girls putting on the footy boots.

“For someone like me who probably won’t be around for many more years it is just great to see young girls picking up the footy,” she said.

“It puts a smile on my face seeing them get the same enjoyment out of footy that I did, and still do now.

“The more girls we can get putting footy boots on, the better it is for the sport.”

As for the North West’s success rate in getting young talent playing down in Perth, Donnellan’s answer was simple.

“They breed ‘em mentally tough up here,” she said. “Kids grab onto the opportunity, bite the bullet, and move down to Perth.”

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