The Mid-West Region of WA will launch a major grassroots initiative on Saturday, with the start of the Murchison Junior Football League.
For the next six weeks, Primary school-aged children from Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra will take part in the new League.
The Murchison footy venture is the result of years of hard work by several stakeholders, including the Stephen Michael Foundation, Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corp, along with the WA Centre for Rural Health, Local Shires, and Schools.
Grady Tomelty, Regional Development Specialist at the West Australian Football Commission, is confident the League has a long-term future.
“We’re now at a point where we have the foundations to run a structured junior football competition.
A committee has been formed and it’s now an incorporated association, giving the group a platform to make this a sustainable venture.
It’s been at least 20 years since we’ve seen a project like this in the Murchison.
We’re hoping the 6-week competition can give us a good insight as to how we can continue to have a football competition in the Murchison, but also provide the blueprint for other sports to follow suit and provide these kids with consistent, competitive sport,” Tomelty said.
Neil Montgomery, who played a major role in getting the project off the ground, believes the Junior Football League is the first of many planned initiatives.
“I was shocked when I moved to the region that there was no organised sport for children or adults in the Murchison.
We hope this will be the start of a fully-fledged season with participants given opportunities to play against other clubs in Geraldton, Newman, or Perth.
Once we’ve established an efficient operating model, we’ll look to expand to older age groups and incorporate?a summer sport such as cricket to perhaps co-exist with netball.
Cue is the ideal location as it’s only an hour from Magnet or Meekatharra,” he said.
Montgomery is a major advocate for youth participating in sporting pursuits.
“Having been involved in sporting clubs all my life as well as a PE teacher I know how influential sport can be.
Our kids need to learn how to lose, how to get hurt and not get angry.
They need to understand to put on field moments behind them, shake an opponent’s hand after the match and then socialise with them.
Issues they’ll learn include sportsmanship and being respectful to umpires,” Montgomery said.
Communities and companies have come on board.
“We’ve sourced sponsorship from Fenix Resources, Gardener Mining, the Cue Shire, and the Department of sport.
There’s been a lot of preparation and planning to get the legal side of establishing a club, but this has been greatly supported by Grady Tomelty from the WAFC.
Covid has made it difficult with the area being first hit in March of this year so delaying our season.
I’m still unsure how many children will turn up, but the local shires and schools have been supportive,” he said.
The benefits from the League start-up make this an exciting time in the Murchison.
“An organised sporting association will hopefully bring our towns together to unify the community.
The students will have access to regular exercise, and while many are quick and skilful, very few of them are fit, so this will improve their resilience and mental health,” Montgomery said.
All the important details:
Who: Murchison Junior Football League.
Primary school-aged participants from Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Cue & Meekatharra.
What: Each week for 6 weeks the 4 towns will congregate in Cue to play junior football.
When: Saturday 6th of August. 6-week season.
Where: Cue Oval. Teams from the 4 towns will travel to Cue (most central location).