Festival of Football kick-starts 2019 Pilbara season

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Players go up in the ruck.
Camera IconPlayers go up in the ruck. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie

A 10- day pre-season carnival took over Karratha last week and got everyone ready for the start of the Pilbara season.

The Festival of Football included a variety of workshops and training over the past week and a half, with the highlight being a full-day extravaganza on Saturday at the Lesiureplex oval.

It was organised by the WA Football Commission and the City of Karratha, with support from Rio Tinto, headspace Pilbara and various local football stakeholders.

WAFC Pilbara regional manager Vicki Agnew said the festival was a wonderful showcase of Pilbara football.

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“I believe it was about bringing fun back to football,” she said.

“We all get set up with our clubs and it’s do or die, everyone goes out there to win but this just brought it back to having a good time.”

The carnival covered every aspect of football including coach education, umpiring workshops, training clinics, volunteer management workshops, West Coast Eagles school visits and Naitanui Academy sessions.

WAFC talent pathway manager Michael Ablett also ran talent testing sessions, while on Saturday juniors and seniors were watched and identified.

Ms Agnew said they ended up with nearly two pages of names from the kids games alone.

“That doesn’t mean they’re going to play WAFL, but they’re kids who have played well, are coachable and the WAFC would like to keep an eye on and work with,” she said.

The carnival also included representative sides from the Hedland Reds, Newman Masters and Ashburton women’s team, as well as individual players from Onslow, Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica.

Ms Agnew hopes to make the festival an annual event, something that would require the ongoing support of major sponsors.

“We’ll have a debrief after the carnival is over but I think it is really important for the community and could become bigger and better every year,” she said.

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