Kids meet their heroes at skills camp

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha Primary School students were excited to learn football skills with West Coast Eagles players and coaches at the Karratha Leisureplex Oval.
Camera IconKarratha Primary School students were excited to learn football skills with West Coast Eagles players and coaches at the Karratha Leisureplex Oval. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

City of Karratha children and adults alike had the chance to meet some of their football heroes last week when a contingent of West Coast Eagles players flew in for their first Pilbara community camp in years.

Former long-term players turned coaching staff Adam Selwood and Mark Nicoski joined young players Tom Lamb, Tarir Bayok, Kurt Mutimer, Tom Gorter, Francis Watson, Paddy Brophy and Malcolm Karpany and team schools and community co-ordinator Kim Hannah for the busy two-day tour on Thursday and Friday.

School skills clinics, coaching development sessions and presenting at a Sportspersons’ Night at the Karratha Leisureplex on Thursday and Leadership and Business Breakfast at Onyx on Sharpe on Friday were the main events on their program and drew plenty of excitement and attention from local football fans.

The players also spent time visiting local hospitals and aged care facilities, and stopped by a number of small businesses.

Selwood said the team’s annual community camps to different parts of regional WA were always an exciting opportunity for country children to interact with athletes they would otherwise only see on TV.

“They’ve got role models and idols who they look up to, who they see on the TV and they don’t get to see every day,” he said.

“What we do through here is spread the word about obviously joining football but also healthy lifestyle choices, exercising, what to eat, what to drink and having good relationships with people on the outside.

“So there’s a lot of strong messages we try to push, and it’s not just focused on football.”

Selwood said regional visits were particularly good for developing their younger crop of players who could be the team’s up-and-coming stars of the future.

“The players who are up here are not playing in the JLT series ... whether that’s through injury or they weren’t able to get a game,” he said.

“But (these camps) are all good for their development. It’s great for them to get out, experience something different and see WA.

“And then in time hopefully they’ll be the players that are actually in the AFL game, and there’s always that next group of players and generation coming through.”

The Eagles’ last community camp to the Pilbara was about seven years ago and included then-new and relatively unknown recruit Nic Naitanui, who Friday breakfast event MC Sean Throssell recalled as shy.

WA Football Commission Pilbara regional development manager Vicki Agnew said it had been a busy but successful community camp for the Eagles.

She said she hoped to expand it to include other parts of the Pilbara in future.

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