Karratha Kats get the cream in biggest NW Masters carnival yet

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Kats’ Nathan Joseph hot on the heels of a Flatback Turtle player.
Camera IconKats’ Nathan Joseph hot on the heels of a Flatback Turtle player. Credit: Pilbara News

Their league team may be having a strong season, but on Saturday it was the Karratha Kats’ old boys’ turn to do their club proud at the North West 9s Masters Carnival.

The Kats finished in first place at the annual regional event for over-35s footballers, defeating Karratha Mudcrabs 1 5.4 (34) to 4.1 (25) in the grand final at Millars Well Oval.

Mudcrabs 1’s Dale Walkinshaw with the ball.
Camera IconMudcrabs 1’s Dale Walkinshaw with the ball. Credit: Pictures: Alicia Perera, Alicia Perera
Flatback Turtles’ Courtney Salmon under pressure from the Kats.
Camera IconFlatback Turtles’ Courtney Salmon under pressure from the Kats. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Kats player John Wellington said the team were pleased with their win, in their first time at the carnival.

“The Mudcrabs (1) put it up to us in the finals and had some wins in the lead-up, so we had to work hard for it,” he said.

“We’re happy with how we went — even though you’re there for fun, you still want to win it.”

Flatback Turtles’ Dan Clarke and Kats’ Arron Minchin.
Camera IconFlatback Turtles’ Dan Clarke and Kats’ Arron Minchin. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
A Pearlers player marks the ball.
Camera IconA Pearlers player marks the ball. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

The masters carnival, now in its third year, included six squads — NPFL clubs the Kats and Karratha Falcons, plus dedicated masters teams the Karratha Mudcrabs (two teams), Port Hedland Flatback Turtles and Broome Pearlers.

Broome finished third, defeating Mudcrabs 2 7.4 (46) to 3.6 (24) in the third v fourth final.

Port Hedland came fifth and Karratha Falcons finished sixth.

Plenty of spectators also attended this year’s carnival, with live commentary, a bouncy castle and sausage sizzle among the family-friendly drawcards.

Falcons’ Dave Kammerer.
Camera IconFalcons’ Dave Kammerer. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
Mudcrabs 1’s Chris Adams kicks under pressure from a Falcons player.
Camera IconMudcrabs 1’s Chris Adams kicks under pressure from a Falcons player. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Karratha Mudcrabs organised the event.

President Craig Moore said holding an annual competition for the primarily social sport allowed players, some of whom had not played football in decades, to test out their skills in a match scenario.

“Generally we only play two games a year, so it’s heavily based on training,” he said.

“This is our chance to play against other sides, to see how our skill sets match up, and it puts a little bit of competitive juice in the tank at the same time I suppose.”

Pearlers’ Peter Rabbit lines up a kick.
Camera IconPearlers’ Peter Rabbit lines up a kick. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
Mudcrabs 1 player Dallas McDonald.
Camera IconMudcrabs 1 player Dallas McDonald. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

He said masters football was growing in popularity across the North West, with the Mudcrabs, Flatback Turtles and Pearlers all recording a 35-40 per cent rise in numbers this year.

Organisers hope to rotate the carnival to different host locations across the North West in coming years.

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