Toast Gavin Wanganeen's post career influence

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I looked for a suitable thread to post the story about the Indigenous Players Alliance and Wangers influence but couldn't really find one. I figured given he has done a lot of stuff with the club's Aboriginal and youth programs, mentoring some of our indigenous players the last few years, making a real commitment to these programs and now his art work which is being featured inside the footy industry as well as general arts community, I should set up a thread about the influence he is having at Port and in the game, even though it doesn't make screaming headline like Kennett or Koch or Carey or Lyon types.

People forget that Gavin was the first Aboriginal Brownlow medalist and first Aboriginal to play 300 V/AFL games. He has enormous standing with the ex Aboriginal players even though the (Malbun) media tends to forget him when looking at past Aboriginal greats and their influence.

He was instrumental in setting up the Indigenous Players Alliance which has been somewhat misunderstood in what they are trying to achieve. Here is a story from The Age when they released their report late June. They initially called themselves Indigenous Past Player Group but in mid November set up a company called Indigenous Players Alliance Limited.

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/indigenous-players-struggles-revealed-20180627-p4zo5o.html
A rigorous study of 25 former Indigenous AFL players has highlighted a number of failings of the AFL system and clubs in dealing with Indigenous players – and of unique problems they faced – during their playing days and afterwards. In a study made on behalf of the recently formed Indigenous Past Players Group, the 25 former players detailed their positive and negative experiences in the game – ranging from highly positive treatment by clubs to experiencing racist jokes, a lack of cultural awareness and a failure to plan for post-playing careers by themselves and the industry.

The study on behalf of the Indigenous Past Player Group – which is headed by ex-Brisbane Lions and Fremantle midfielder Des Headland, with ex-champions Michael O’Loughlin and Gavin Wanganeen heavily involved – also made a series of recommendations aimed at improving the lot of Indigenous players, particularly after they had finished. Wanganeen, the 1993 Brownlow medallist, will speak on behalf of the group on Thursday morning following the release of the study, which was made by Perth-based academic and Indigenous expert Sean Gorman. The AFL is comfortable in hearing the criticisms directed at it, the clubs and industry in the study.
.......
Amid the various grievances – directed at clubs, the AFL, AFL Players’ Association and some player agents – a number of the former players expressed regret that they had not prepared themselves for a transition out of the game, or that they had not been been educated enough, and some had not taken advantage of their opportunities or set themselves up financially. ‘‘Overwhelmingly, the IPP felt that the industry needs to get better in dealing with transition.’’
https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/indigenous-players-struggles-revealed-20180627-p4zo5o.html

1546400285799.png


From left: Phil Egan, Che Cockatoo-Collins, Des Headland, Derek Kickett, Gavin Wanganeen, Scott Chisholm, Peter Matera, Kevin Caton, Michael O’Loughlin and Courtney Dempsey.



https://twitter.com/IndigPlayaAlli/status/1019378749039468544


The Tracey Holmes interview with Gavin, Des Headland and academic Dr Sean Gorman who set this all up is worth a listen.4

https://twitter.com/TraceyLeeHolmes/status/1023059336380080129


This story was in the Sunday mail. The first half is about Gavin's experiences and the 2nd half was about Michael O’Loughlin which you can read from the link
Gavin Wanganeen’s biggest struggle during AFL career
One fringe benefit of being mortal is we get to create the gods. Come the weekend, we urge them forth in contest but it takes the near-death of someone such as North Melbourne AFL player Majak Daw to realise there are other battles, beyond the stadiums, Gavin Wanganeen is not a name associated with personal struggles but his success gave him a problem. Not drugs, drinking or gambling, but managing his money. He says he was so football-focused he never considered the time when it would all end.

Wanganeen, 45, is known as one of the most switched-on footballers this country has produced. There was a premiership and Brownlow for Essendon in 1993; and his return home to South Australia, leading the goal kicking in Port Adelaide’s 2004 flag. Yet Wanganeen’s off-field choices were poor. “I was on a pretty good wicket, playing footy for 16 years,” he says. “But I didn’t have people in my corner driving me to think about when footy finishes. It wasn’t there. It led to bad decisions on my behalf. “As a young Aboriginal man coming from nothing at all I don’t know if I really realised the importance of being financially secure.”

There were risky investments and too many cars. When he came out at the end in 2006 all he had was a house. “If you look back on it, if I had my time again, I would have bought a dozen rental properties,” he says. “That would have been so easily accessible for me at the time. Just knowing I’ve got enough for a deposit this year, and the next, for 16 years. I could have easily done it but I didn’t realise till it was too late.”

A group of former senior AFL players, including Wanganeen, Des Headland (Brisbane, Dockers), Michael O’Loughlin (Swans) and Derek Kickett (North, Essendon, Swans) have formed the indigenous Players Alliance to assist current and past players through their playing days to life afterwards.
https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/spor...r/news-story/23e754f18e3202abbd344ef99c27b0df


People sneered at it at first as they saw it as a money grab and in competition with the AFLPA
When the IPA was announced (initially as the indigenous Past Players Association), Sam Newman sneered it was trying to “extort” money from the AFL. Others suggested the IPA wanted to create a separatist organisation to wrest indigenous players from the control of the existing AFL Players Association.

That is not the agenda. It is about a creating a network that understands that indigenous players often come from poverty, with cultures and family connections that can be a player’s greatest asset yet also create a burden with the cultural demand to share what you have.
The suicide of Shane Yarran was a catalyst to kick off the IPA
The suicide this year of indigenous player Shane Yarran, who for a short time was a Docker, and the circumstances his cousin, former Carlton player Chris Yarran, who fought an ice addiction, prematurely declared himself healed by the hand of God and is now on remand in WA on carjacking and assault charges, has galvanised the IPA. “We’d like to be there for our boys and girls when they first come into the system, while they’re in the system, and as they exit,” says Wanganeen. “We feel we can be in a position to support our people. A lot of us understand what they’ve gone through growing up, and the issues that might be affecting them.” Wanganeen knows problems are not solely defined by race. “I’m not saying Aboriginal players are the only ones who have these issues, but look at the incarceration rates,” he says. “They’re through the roof. It comes from disadvantage. It’s there in our health. “Within our families, having the right role models around us can be few and far between. It’s a common theme across communities. We’re coming from a long way back. That’s why we need support through our journeys.”

I think this is a good analogy of why the IPA makes sense as its outside the normal work the AFLPA does.
Many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars struggled to find support, despite the lessons of Vietnam. Organisations such as Wounded Warriors and Soldier On helped put vets with other vets, meaning they weren’t just speaking to well-meaning psychologists.
Gavin talks more about having this understanding and that it took him 8 years after he retired to work out that he had actually aquired a great intagible skill after 16 years in the AFL - being able to deal with many different types of people. Its around that time that Gavin started making a bigger commitment to our Aboriginal and youth programs.
The IPA, still in its infancy, wants to get to the point where if a past or current player is in trouble, they can deploy their network to knock on a door. The AFL PA already does some of this work, but Wanganeen says it can be taken further. “I think we can work together and assist them in some of the areas they might find difficult,” he says. “Having someone who understands indigenous cultures, family connections, how strong the pull is from families, it definitely needs the right person. It can only be a good thing when you’ve got organisations working together.” Wanganeen would advise emerging indigenous players that he or she must put themselves first while the money is flowing. And to let them know that good financial health is linked to good mental health.

“When footy finished I wasn’t set up,” he says. “It was a constant scramble to try and find something that I could put my energies towards. I felt that footy was all that I was good at. What else can I do? “It was a very tough transition knowing I had wasted an opportunity. I have that regret, yeah. I got into investing in cafes without knowing anything about cafes. And other things. I wasted a lot of money on bad investments.” Wanganeen left the game at 33 and says it took him eight years to understand that within AFL culture he had actually acquired valuable skills — mainly around dealing with people. “I’m working hard,” he says. “My wife Pippa has been unbelievably supportive in helping me find my motivation and try to capitalise now while I’m relatively young. There’s still a lot of life ahead. I’m determined to make up for lost time.” One of his best personal investments has been immersing himself in his culture, painting his family’s land on the west coast of SA. “I imagine myself far above the night sky, even above the stars, looking down through the stars to the ground where my grandfather and my mum’s from. It’s been really empowering..........
[/MEDIA]
 
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These are the tweets I put in the OP but for some reason the new system didn't show them and cut off the rest of the post


 
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NoddyHolder

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Why did it take so long to happen, RussellEbertHandball?
Historically a lot fewer aboriginal footballers played in the vfl than the sanfl, and particularly the wafl. Indigenous populations were more effectively wiped out in Victoria than in SA and WA during colonisation, probably due to the higher population density of colonists.

The vfl clubs didn't recruit from the other comps in big numbers until the 1980s and before then most players who went to the vfl played substantial careers (100+ games) in their home states before going. So while champion aboriginal players like Polly Farmer and Barry Cable went from WA to the vfl in 60s and 70s the majority of their careers were played in Perth. So that explains why they didn't get to the 300 game mark. Champion footballers from the Northern Territory also tended to move to Perth or Adelaide rather than Melbourne, probably because they were more comfortable in the smaller cities. Some of them later moved onto the vfl (eg maurice Rioli, Gilbert McAdam - even in the 90s Andrew McLeod and Nathan Buckley (not aboriginal) came down to play in the sanfl before being drafted to the afl).

The one annoying thing about the vfl evolving into the national league is the propoganda that the vfl was always the proxy national league (first division) rather than a first amongst equals. So the long and rich histories of the sanfl and wafl have been diminished - this includes the century+ contributions of aboriginal footballers to those leagues - and therefore the history and culture of the game.
We joke that Kevin Sheedy invented aboriginal footballers because of his targeting them as recruits to Essendon in the 80s and 90s and his subsequent self promotion as the great giver of opportunity to aboriginal players as if they'd never had the chance to even play the game before he came along. Western Australia has a particularly rich history of indigenous footballers in their league.

As to why Gav was the first to win a brownlow. Partly because they had played fewer years on average before the 90s. The onfield racism they endured was probably also a factor. Victorians also have a massive superiority complex when it comes to footy so were maybe 'harder markers' on outsiders playing in their league - which would have included aboriginal players.
 
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Why did it take so long to happen, RussellEbertHandball?
To put it very bluntly Victorians and Tasmanians slaughtered more of their Aboriginals than Western Australians, South Australians and Northern Territorians. Most of the clubs in the big 4 state leagues had Aborigines play at the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th century but it was a handful here and there.

Aborigines went and fought for Australia in WW I - WW I Australian forces were mainly volunteers, there was no conscription and the professional defence force was very small, - and also in WWII, but after the wars they were ignored - not by their fellow soldiers, but by their governments and countrymen and women, They still weren't allowed into certain establishments, they weren't counted in the census, because that would mean the states that had big Aboriginal populations would get more federal funding etc. The constitution changed in 1967 so that's when things started to change legally, but old racial stereotyping was slow to follow.

Plus football was a more violent and dour game than its been the last 30 years and coaches and fans didn't necessary like flashy, outside players who were not "hardball get" winners. Racism was used to taunt these players with coaches and senior players pushing this as a way to put opposition Aboriginal players off your game. If a coach encourages racism then its not going to encourage Aboriginals to want to play for that club. And if Aboriginal players lashed out at the racism they usually got reported and were given anywhere from 3-9 games suspension for striking.

Sir Doug Nicholls wanted to play for Carlton in the 1930's but they said no we don't want black fellas at our club and he joined Fitzroy. Nicholls finished 3rd in the Brownlow in 1934 and in 1935 he was selected to play for Victoria and was the first Aborigine to do so. Injuries meant he only played 54 games for Fitzroy but played 4 times for Victoria. He became a pastor and did a lot of community work with Aboriginal groups in Melbourne and Victoria. He was knighted in 1972, being the first Aboriginal in Australia to be knighted by the crown. In late 1976 the very progressive South Australia Labor premier Don Dunstan, appointed him the first Aboriginal Governor of an Australian state. I dont think we have had another one since anywhere else in Australia. He suffered a heart attack in January 1977 within 2 months of being made governor. He hosted the Queen in Adelaide in March and she gave him a second knighthood. Unfortunately that was his last official function as ill health meant he had to resign in April. He become South Australia's shortest serving Governor. Since 2016 the Indigenous Round has been called the Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

So Victoria had a few very good Aboriginal players but it was Western Australia that had many players after WWI but especially after World War II. The Aboriginal nation that makes up most of the south west part of Western Australia and up past Perth is the Noongar nation. Kevin Sheedy said a Noongar elder told him that the SW area of WA should be considered as Noongar nation. He said in Europe you don't call people Mediterraneans you call them by their nationality and he said Australians should refer to different groups by their tribal nation. Sheedy said he'd never thought of it that way before and talked about how many footballers have come from that nation of 35,000 people.

The article below refers to how Sheedy has called the Noongars the Zulu's of Australia. The article was written in 2016 when 25 of the 73 Aboriginal players were Noongars including Paddy Ryder.

This long article was in The Age and has multimedia presentation. If you read it you will get a good feel for WA's Aboriginal contribution to footy in particular the Noongars.
https://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2016/the-noongar-warriors/

If you cant get access to the story the author has it on his website at
http://beautyandstrangeness.com/the-noongar-warriors/

A documentary called Noongar Footy Magic - A Team of Champions was made about these players from the article and released December 2017, but I haven't seen it yet.

In WA the Aboriginal players were winning the equivalent of the Brownlow, the Sandover medal in the 1950's and playing 300 games.

Graham Polly Farmer won the Sandover medal in 1956, 1957, 1960, won the Tassie medal in 1956 at the 2 week national carnival for the best player at the carnival, was 26 had played around 170 games for East Perth and went to play for Geelong in 1962 as he liked the small town as opposed to Melbourne, He got a knee injury in 1962, but in 1963 he led Geelong to the premiership and revolutionized the game with his ruck work, but he was the first to use handball as an attacking weapon, with 20-30m handballs. He'd been doing it for years in WA, but until Victorians saw it, he didnt get any real credit for it. He talked back to umpires a lot and the Vic umpires didnt like it and he didn't poll many votes despite being a dominate player. He played 101 games for Geelong 1962-67. He went back to WA in 1968 to West Perth to be captain coach and played another 79 games and finished all up with 356 games, plus 31 for WA and 5 for Victoria. He was the first Aboriginal coach in the VFL and coached Geelong in 1973-75. Farmer was named in the AFL team of the century in 1996 and was one of the inaugural 100 players into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and from those 100, 12 were given status of Legend of the game and he was one of the 12 and the only non Victorian

Ted Kilmurray was Farmer's Aboriginal team mate at East Perth and he won the Sandover medal in 1958. They won premierships together in 1956, 1958 and 1959 and in 1958 he won East Perth's best and fairest award after Farmer had won the previous 4. He played over 250 games. He never played in Victoria.

Barry Cable won 3 Sandover medals in 1964, 1968 and 1973 and played 225 games for Perth winning premierships in 1966, 67 and 68. He played for North Melbourne in 1970 and then again 1974 to 1977 and was instrumental player in their 1975 (North's first VFL premiership) and 1977 premierships and played 115 games for them. He returned to Perth and played 43 games for East Perth winning the 1978 premiership. So all up he played 383 games plus 20 for WA and 1 for Vic. He also coached North Melbourne between 1981-84 and became the second Aboriginal coach of a VFL club, after Farmer and these 2 guys are the only Aboriginal coaches in V/AFL history. He was one of the inaugural 100 players when the AFL set up the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He was elevated to Legend status in 2012 and of the 27 Legends, Cable and Farmer are the only from WA and only Aboriginal players as legends. The next one from WA may well be Stephen Michael another Noongar man- see below.

Bill Dempsey played for West Perth and never went to Victoria. He was from Darwin moved to Perth when he was 18 and played 340 games between 1960-1976 and 14 state games for WA. He was a ruckman and started his career rucking against Farmer, but played with Farmer in state games and then at the end of Farmer's career when he returned to WA and played for West Perth.

Stephen Michael played 240 odd games for South Fremantle between 1975-85, won the Sandover medal in 1980 and 1981 (a record total), played around 20 games for WA and in 1983 won the Tassie medal in the national carnival and was named captain in the All Australian side. If you watch ex Swans player Adam Goodes play (who won a Brownlow in 2003 and 2006) you will see the closest version of Michael in the modern game. Paddy Ryder is athletic as Michael and both have great leaps. Michael was lured by Geelong to check them out. There used to be 30 June clearances, sort of like the 31 January clearance window deadline in Euro soccer. So he flew to Melbourne in mid June in middle of a Victorian winter, but didn't like the cold and went home. He also was 1 of 11 kids and he was helping fund his brothers and sisters education and general life, giving money to his parents to help with family expenses.

So WA was always ahead of the rest of Australia with development of Aboriginal players. In Darwin the Aboriginal players in the NTFL dominated the league more than the WAFL, but it was a small league and barely more than an amateur league until the 1990's.

When I was an impressionable youth of the late 1970's early to mid 1980's, it was WA Aboriginal players that became some of my favourite players of all time, Stephen Michael, Maurice Rioli, Basil Campbell, Benny Vigona and Nicky Winmar at South Fremantle, Jimmy and Phil Krakouer ant Claremont and then North Melbourne, Michael Mitchell at Claremont then 3 or 4 years at Richmond where in the space of a few weeks he kicked goal of the year and took mark of the year.

South Australia had Aboriginal players but whilst they were good players they didn't have the absolute stars like they did in WA. David Kantilla came down from the Tiwi Islands and Darwin to Adelaide in the early 1960's and played for South Adelaide in their bottom to premiers flag in 1964 and for South Australia. Kevin Sheedy credits Kantilla as the man who convinced him about playing more indigenous players if he ever became coach when they met in the late 1970's in the Northern Territory.

Gilbert McAdam came down from Alice Springs in the mid 1980's his older brother Greg was playing for North Adelaide and had played a year at St Kilda. Gilbert won the Magarey Medal in 1989 and was the first Aboriginal player to do so, when the SANFL was still a strong league. He went to St Kilda and it was Gilbert and Nicky Winmar in that famous game at Collingwood's old home ground of Victoria Park in 1993, who made a pact before the game to take a stand against racism of the crowd and Collingwood players and win at Victoria Park for the first time in about 20 years. Winmar after the game famously pulled up his jumper after the Saints won the game and pointed to his skin whilst Collingwood supporters were racially abusing him.

Another reason why WA and Victoria were different is basically the earth/soil in either state. In Perth and WA most grounds have a sand based soil, so they tend to drain better and stay dry during winter time. In Melbourne and Victoria most grounds are black soil and some clay based, which in winter dont drain as well. South Australian grounds were more like Victorian grounds and Tassie the worst. So in WA the athleticism of the Noongar players as well as other Aboriginals were able to advantage of these drier grounds in winter. The Victorian game in winter was more about physical strength than speed. I remember as a kid always noticing that Victorian players were physically bigger and usually had thick set calves and thighs. Its never discussed but I think that difference in soils played a part. WA state and club sides always struggled in Victoria on heavy and/or wet grounds, but played well when it was dry. In a famous national night game mid season series in the early 1980's at Waverley Park in Melbourne, a WA club side, I think it was Claremont, was beating Hawthorn comfortably early in the 3rd quarter and then the automatic sprinklers came on for about 10 minutes. After that the WA side fell apart and the Vic side won by 2 or 3 goals.

GremioPower here is a thread SgtSchulz started in 2017 about Aboriginal players who have played for Port's A grade side with the first player in 1891 but it wasn't until the 1980's that we regularly had Aboriginal players.
https://www.bigfooty.com/forum/thre...eam-indigenous-players.1167089/#post-50533423

I wrote this a few weeks after posting that Noongar article in 2017.

TeeKray said:
Yep both still there, they must be the other 2.

It can't be a coincidence that Freo and Port both continuously stock up with Aboriginal players over a long period of time involving many different coaching and recruiting regimes. I wonder why this is?
--------------
That Noongar Warriors article from July last year that I linked in the AFL General Thread on page 377 and some discussion with Kwality on the next page has some of the answers. Freo get it from the South Freo history and general WA footy history. Its no fluke that Mal Brown coach at South Freo when he loaded up on aboriginal players played against aboriginal footballers in the country and admired them. Same with Fos Williams and his playing days in Quorn. Both didn't discriminate on skin colour just had to be good enough. Both clubs at state league level had indigenous players thru the years but needed a champion to break down the door and open administrators eyes to the possibilities and inspire the kids that its possible. At South Freo it was Sebastian Rioli in 1972 at Port it was Gavin Wanganeen in 1990. After that neither club looked back. For Freo who are based at the old South Freo oval those involved with South Freo and even East Freo and other clubs had constant reminders of the possibilities. Look at Freo's first coach Gerard Neesham he got sacked and went and started Clontarf Foundation with the help of the chairman who sacked him.

Its about experience and education. Once you breakdown the fear of the unknown and untried and get to understand people it helps build knowledge understanding and networks.
 
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Nemisis

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To put it very bluntly Victorians and Tasmanians slaughtered more of their Aboriginals than Western Australians, South Australians and Northern Territorians. Most of the clubs in the big 4 state leagues had Aborigines play at the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th century but it was a handful here and there.

Aborigines went and fought for Australia in WW I - WW I Australian forces were mainly volunteers, there was no conscription and the professional defence force was very small, - and also in WWII, but after the wars they were ignored - not by their fellow soldiers, but by their governments and countrymen and women, They still weren't allowed into certain establishments, they weren't counted in the census, because that would mean the states that had big Aboriginal populations would get more federal funding etc. The constitution changed in 1967 so that's when things started to change legally, but old racial stereotyping was slow to follow.

Plus football was a more violent and dour game than its been the last 30 years and coaches and fans didn't necessary like flashy, outside players who were not "hardball get" winners. Racism was used to taunt these players with coaches and senior players pushing this as a way to put opposition Aboriginal players off your game. If a coach encourages racism then its not going to encourage Aboriginals to want to play for that club. And if Aboriginal players lashed out at the racism they usually got reported and were given anywhere from 3-9 games suspension for striking.

Sir Doug Nicholls wanted to play for Carlton in the 1930's but they said no we don't want black fellas at our club and he joined Fitzroy. Nicholls finished 3rd in the Brownlow in 1934 and in 1935 he was selected to play for Victoria and was the first Aborigine to do so. Injuries meant he only played 54 games for Fitzroy but played 4 times for Victoria. He became a pastor and did a lot of community work with Aboriginal groups in Melbourne and Victoria. He was knighted in 1972, being the first Aboriginal in Australia to be knighted by the crown. In late 1976 the very progressive South Australia Labor premier Don Dunstan, appointed him the first Aboriginal Governor of an Australian state. I dont think we have had another one since anywhere else in Australia. He suffered a heart attack in January 1977 within 2 months of being made governor. He hosted the Queen in Adelaide in March and she gave him a second knighthood. Unfortunately that was his last official function as ill health meant he had to resign in April. He become South Australia's shortest serving Governor. Since 2016 the Indigenous Round has been called the Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

So Victoria had a few very good Aboriginal players but it was Western Australia that had many players after WWI but especially after World War II. The Aboriginal nation that makes up most of the south west part of Western Australia and up past Perth is the Noongar nation. Kevin Sheedy said a Noongar elder told him that the SW area of WA should be considered as Noongar nation. He said in Europe you don't call people Mediterraneans you call them by their nationality and he said Australians should refer to different groups by their tribal nation. Sheedy said he'd never thought of it that way before and talked about how many footballers have come from that nation of 35,000 people.

The article below refers to how Sheedy has called the Noongars the Zulu's of Australia. The article was written in 2016 when 25 of the 73 Aboriginal players were Noongars including Paddy Ryder.

This long article was in The Age and has multimedia presentation. If you read it you will get a good feel for WA's Aboriginal contribution to footy in particular the Noongars.
https://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2016/the-noongar-warriors/

If you cant get access to the story the author has it on his website at
http://beautyandstrangeness.com/the-noongar-warriors/

A documentary called Noongar Footy Magic - A Team of Champions was made about these players from the article and released December 2017, but I haven't seen it yet.

In WA the Aboriginal players were winning the equivalent of the Brownlow, the Sandover medal in the 1950's and playing 300 games.

Graham Polly Farmer won the Sandover medal in 1956, 1957, 1960, won the Tassie medal in 1956 at the 2 week national carnival for the best player at the carnival, was 26 had played around 170 games for East Perth and went to play for Geelong in 1962 as he liked the small town as opposed to Melbourne, He got a knee injury in 1962, but in 1963 he led Geelong to the premiership and revolutionized the game with his ruck work, but he was the first to use handball as an attacking weapon, with 20-30m handballs. He'd been doing it for years in WA, but until Victorians saw it, he didnt get any real credit for it. He talked back to umpires a lot and the Vic umpires didnt like it and he didn't poll many votes despite being a dominate player. He played 101 games for Geelong 1962-67. He went back to WA in 1968 to West Perth to be captain coach and played another 79 games and finished all up with 356 games, plus 31 for WA and 5 for Victoria. He was the first Aboriginal coach in the VFL and coached Geelong in 1973-75. Farmer was named in the AFL team of the century in 1996 and was one of the inaugural 100 players into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and from those 100, 12 were given status of Legend of the game and he was one of the 12 and the only non Victorian

Ted Kilmurray was Farmer's Aboriginal team mate at East Perth and he won the Sandover medal in 1958. They won premierships together in 1956, 1958 and 1959 and in 1958 he won East Perth's best and fairest award after Farmer had won the previous 4. He played over 250 games. He never played in Victoria.

Barry Cable won 3 Sandover medals in 1964, 1968 and 1973 and played 225 games for Perth winning premierships in 1966, 67 and 68. He played for North Melbourne in 1970 and then again 1974 to 1977 and was instrumental player in their 1975 (North's first VFL premiership) and 1977 premierships and played 115 games for them. He returned to Perth and played 43 games for East Perth winning the 1978 premiership. So all up he played 383 games plus 20 for WA and 1 for Vic. He also coached North Melbourne between 1981-84 and became the second Aboriginal coach of a VFL club, after Farmer and these 2 guys are the only Aboriginal coaches in V/AFL history. He was one of the inaugural 100 players when the AFL set up the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He was elevated to Legend status in 2012 and of the 27 Legends, Cable and Farmer are the only from WA and only Aboriginal players as legends. The next one from WA may well be Stephen Michael another Noongar man- see below.

Bill Dempsey played for West Perth and never went to Victoria. He was from Darwin moved to Perth when he was 18 and played 340 games between 1960-1976 and 14 state games for WA. He was a ruckman and started his career rucking against Farmer, but played with Farmer in state games and then at the end of Farmer's career when he returned to WA and played for West Perth.

Stephen Michael played 240 odd games for South Fremantle between 1975-85, won the Sandover medal in 1980 and 1981 (a record total), played around 20 games for WA and in 1983 won the Tassie medal in the national carnival and was named captain in the All Australian side. If you watch ex Swans player Adam Goodes play (who won a Brownlow in 2003 and 2006) you will see the closest version of Michael in the modern game. Paddy Ryder is athletic as Michael and both have great leaps. Michael was lured by Geelong to check them out. There used to be 30 June clearances, sort of like the 31 January clearance window deadline in Euro soccer. So he flew to Melbourne in mid June in middle of a Victorian winter, but didn't like the cold and went home. He also was 1 of 11 kids and he was helping fund his brothers and sisters education and general life, giving money to his parents to help with family expenses.

So WA was always ahead of the rest of Australia with development of Aboriginal players. In Darwin the Aboriginal players in the NTFL dominated the league more than the WAFL, but it was a small league and barely more than an amateur league until the 1990's.

When I was an impressionable youth of the late 1970's early to mid 1980's, it was WA Aboriginal players that became some of my favourite players of all time, Stephen Michael, Maurice Rioli, Basil Campbell, Benny Vigona and Nicky Winmar at South Fremantle, Jimmy and Phil Krakouer ant Claremont and then North Melbourne, Michael Mitchell at Claremont then 3 or 4 years at Richmond where in the space of a few weeks he kicked goal of the year and took mark of the year.

South Australia had Aboriginal players but whilst they were good players they didn't have the absolute stars like they did in WA. David Kantilla came down from the Tiwi Islands and Darwin to Adelaide in the early 1960's and played for South Adelaide in their bottom to premiers flag in 1964 and for South Australia. Kevin Sheedy credits Kantilla as the man who convinced him about playing more indigenous players if he ever became coach when they met in the late 1970's in the Northern Territory.

Gilbert McAdam came down from Alice Springs in the mid 1980's his older brother Greg was playing for North Adelaide and had played a year at St Kilda. Gilbert won the Magarey Medal in 1989 and was the first Aboriginal player to do so, when the SANFL was still a strong league. He went to St Kilda and it was Gilbert and Nicky Winmar in that famous game at Collingwood's old home ground of Victoria Park in 1993, who made a pact before the game to take a stand against racism of the crowd and Collingwood players and win at Victoria Park for the first time in about 20 years. Winmar after the game famously pulled up his jumper after the Saints won the game and pointed to his skin whilst Collingwood supporters were racially abusing him.

Another reason why WA and Victoria were different is basically the earth/soil in either state. In Perth and WA most grounds have a sand based soil, so they tend to drain better and stay dry during winter time. In Melbourne and Victoria most grounds are black soil and some clay based, which in winter dont drain as well. South Australian grounds were more like Victorian grounds and Tassie the worst. So in WA the athleticism of the Noongar players as well as other Aboriginals were able to advantage of these drier grounds in winter. The Victorian game in winter was more about physical strength than speed. I remember as a kid always noticing that Victorian players were physically bigger and usually had thick set calves and thighs. Its never discussed but I think that difference in soils played a part. WA state and club sides always struggled in Victoria on heavy and/or wet grounds, but played well when it was dry. In a famous national night game mid season series in the early 1980's at Waverley Park in Melbourne, a WA club side, I think it was Claremont, was beating Hawthorn comfortably early in the 3rd quarter and then the automatic sprinklers came on for about 10 minutes. After that the WA side fell apart and the Vic side won by 2 or 3 goals.

GremioPower here is a thread SgtSchulz started in 2017 about Aboriginal players who have played for Port's A grade side with the first player in 1891 but it wasn't until the 1980's that we regularly had Aboriginal players.
https://www.bigfooty.com/forum/thre...eam-indigenous-players.1167089/#post-50533423

I wrote this a few weeks after posting that Noongar article in 2017.

TeeKray said:
Yep both still there, they must be the other 2.

It can't be a coincidence that Freo and Port both continuously stock up with Aboriginal players over a long period of time involving many different coaching and recruiting regimes. I wonder why this is?
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That Noongar Warriors article from July last year that I linked in the AFL General Thread on page 377 and some discussion with Kwality on the next page has some of the answers. Freo get it from the South Freo history and general WA footy history. Its no fluke that Mal Brown coach at South Freo when he loaded up on aboriginal players played against aboriginal footballers in the country and admired them. Same with Fos Williams and his playing days in Quorn. Both didn't discriminate on skin colour just had to be good enough. Both clubs at state league level had indigenous players thru the years but needed a champion to break down the door and open administrators eyes to the possibilities and inspire the kids that its possible. At South Freo it was Sebastian Rioli in 1972 at Port it was Gavin Wanganeen in 1990. After that neither club looked back. For Freo who are based at the old South Freo oval those involved with South Freo and even East Freo and other clubs had constant reminders of the possibilities. Look at Freo's first coach Gerard Neesham he got sacked and went and started Clontarf Foundation with the help of the chairman who sacked him.

Its about experience and education. Once you breakdown the fear of the unknown and untried and get to understand people it helps build knowledge understanding and networks.
Great read REH ... I hated Sturt so much growing up but couldn't help but admire the skills of Roger Rigney and Michael Flash Graham. Both champions.
 
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#11
I remember about 18 months ago, at the State Library was an exhibition about 150 years of Australian Rules Football in South Australia, I posted some photos here after I visited (photo of me flipping off Max Basheer)

But anyways, there was one display about Indigenous football leagues in the Far West and APY Lands, most of the team photos had all indigenous players with one white Christian missionary on the team (their names had the prefix Reverend or Pastor), but I swear every second player had the surname Betts or Burgoyne

 

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davo999

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#12
That book in the middle . A touch of magic is all about the west coast of S,A indigenous footballers . Gavin is related to a guy described as the father of all aboriginal footballers Dick Davey . Gavin’s mother being a Davey . ( the Wanganeen comes from his mothers newer partner ) .
Kooniba mission near Ceduna has Australia’s oldest aboriginal football club .
It’s players have been plenty of Davey , Burgoyne’s , Betts:s , Miller’s, Milera’s , Johncocks and many more . A lot of the family’s moved to Port Lincoln looking for work with Mallee Park being like a sister club of Kooniba . They still play in the Far west football league ( Kooniba Roosters )
 

MrChow

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#13
I'd just like to add... that while the footy community sees winning the Brownlow as the biggest individual accolade, in the Indigenous community being a proud and learned cultural man or woman will always be more important.

With the huge social disadvantage, families are dealing with much bigger issues then the majority white person, for example, some families attend funerals every 6-8 weeks. Look at Liam Jurrah (or Dom Barry), they had identity/family issues to deal with. They both could have possibly been 200 game players, if they didn't have to go deal with things.

Strong leaders are integral in Indigenous communities, and it is bloody excellent that Gavin does what he does. When you consider how low Indigenous Life Expectancy is, the ramifications of Stolen Generation, the literacy rates, and the continued loss of connection to country through mining companies push for resource access (which provide Indigenous funding programs like Santos/Mining Tax anybody).

This stuff is greater than footy. Go Wangas
 
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#14
I'd just like to add... that while the footy community sees winning the Brownlow as the biggest individual accolade, in the Indigenous community being a proud and learned cultural man or woman will always be more important.

With the huge social disadvantage, families are dealing with much bigger issues then the majority white person, for example, some families attend funerals every 6-8 weeks. Look at Liam Jurrah (or Dom Barry), they had identity/family issues to deal with. They both could have possibly been 200 game players, if they didn't have to go deal with things.

Strong leaders are integral in Indigenous communities, and it is bloody excellent that Gavin does what he does. When you consider how low Indigenous Life Expectancy is, the ramifications of Stolen Generation, the literacy rates, and the continued loss of connection to country through mining companies push for resource access (which provide Indigenous funding programs like Santos/Mining Tax anybody).

This stuff is greater than footy. Go Wangas
It's tough, sometimes feels like one step forward two steps back for some of these kids. Liam Ryan coming off the high of a hallmark moment of an astounding grand final victory appears to have reverted off the path he had worked so hard to get on. The game of footy definitely has a role to play in helping these young lads get their life on track providing a constructive medium for these guys to set themselves & their families up as well as presenting them as role models for the next generation to follow.
 
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