A team of sixteen football players from WA with Intellectual Disabilities are competing in the AFL National Inclusion Carnival in Launceston Tasmania, this June.
Community TAB of Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) is a sponsor of the WA team for the second year in a row to support them in the week-long event of AFL, against every other state in the country, culminating with finals and selection of the All Australian Team.
The players are chosen from the West Australian Amateur Football League (WAAFL) Integrated Football Program.
The WAAFL’s Integrated Football Program has entered its eighth year of providing opportunities for players with Intellectual Disabilities to play AFL at their local club, and in 2018 the introduction of North Beach and Willetton Clubs has bolstered the program to nine competing Teams and over 200 players.
WAAFL Integrated Football Program Co-Ordinator Greg Gilbee said the WAAFL is proud to once again select a WA State Team to participate at this year’s AFL National Inclusion Carnival.
“The sixteen players will travel to Launceston on 17 June with play beginning on the 19th running through to the 23rd June culminating with finals being played at University of Tasmania ground prior to Hawthorn verse Gold Coast Suns,” Mr Gilbee said.
“It’s a new look team comprising several first time State Representatives in twin brothers Alex and Brendan Indich from Fremantle CBC, Graeme Govan of the High Wycombe FC, Scott Crawford from Kingsway, Geoff Stewart and Tyler Gould of the Willetton Football Club.
“Our debutantes will be supported by returning State Players and All Australians in Fillip Raneiri and David Hallows.”
Mr Gilbee said the Team has been training at Hamer Park Mt Lawley under the learned eye of 2018 State Coach James Matkovich assisted by Dave Wright from Kingsway FC.
“The guys have bonded well and are keen and ready to take on all other states and territories in what will be a terrific week of mateship, supporting each other and enjoying hot competition in a rather chilly environment,” he said.
“A big thankyou to Community TAB for their continued and most valuable support of Integrated Football and our State Integrated Team.“
Community TAB General Manager Matthew Thomas said the connection between the Integrated Program and Community TAB led to a wonderful partnership.
“Community TAB has been a sponsor of the Wembley Integrated Football team since 2016 and just this year also signed on to sponsor the Willetton Integrated Football team, as well as supporting the State team last year and this year,” Mr Thomas said.
“We have seen how much the players and their support networks love being a part of the football community and can see how important achieving a place on the State Team is to these players.
“Community TAB contributes to other inclusion organisations such as Riding for the Disabled as well as the sporting community through sports grant and sporting bodies such as the WA Sports Federation.”
The WAAFL Integrated Football Program launched in 2010 thanks to funding from Racing and Wagering WA that was contributed to the Department of Sport and Recreation.