Over 60 pairs of football boots and 30 footballs are on their way to the Northern Territory, complements of a partnership between Downer Group and Maribyrnong Sports Academy. MSA AFL Students traveled to the Tiwi Islands back in June, where they played a game of footy against students from Xavier Catholic College, Wurrumiyanga.
During this game two acts of humanity where shown by the boys from Maribyrnong. The first was at half time in the game when the Maribyrnong Sports Academy boys decided to take their boots of and even the competition against the Xavier boys who had been playing barefoot all game. The second act of kindness was when year 12 student David Fruzcalzo handed his boots to a local boy after the game.
“We were really proud of the way our boys took the initiative to take their boots off and level the playing field as such” says MSA HAPE teacher and AFL coach Andrew Komp. “ from that action and the action of David to hand his boots over at the end of the game, we decided that we could do a lot more to make an impact on the Tiwi community and their kids. Footy is such a big part of the local culture that we came up with the idea of sending these boys our old boots, as most of the boys would be grown old of them before the start of next season.”
Mr Komp also thanked local football club Spotswood FC for their involvement in the initiative, “ Spotswood have enhanced our delivery by providing over 30 footballs which will also be sent with our shipment of boots, giving the kids a real chance to participate in our great game.” We would also like to thank Downer Group of providing the transport of the equipment to the Tiwi Islands free of charge .”
Angela Ballard representing Downer Group says it’s a great way for a local community in Melbourne to make a difference. “ Being a parent of one of the athletes who went on the camp, I was really touched by the spirit in which the boys played the game. Downer has a focused priority through Indigenous Engagement by ensuring they are making a valuable contribution towards increasing their Indigenous workforce and engaging with local Indigenous businesses across all projects nationally. The Downer National Indigenous Specialist in Melbourne, Moana Matthews, will be delivering the football boots in person to her home town of Darwin where she has spent many years working across the Tiwi Islands with the local Aboriginal communities and families.
Xavier Catholic College Health and PE Coordinator Josh Leane says “ We would really like to thank Maribyrnong Sports Academy and Downer Group for the kind generosity by your school and the community in regards to the donation of football boots and sporting gear. Our students enjoyed meeting your students and the football game was one of the highlights for their term. Having your students take their boots off really evened up the playing field and did give your students and insight into how Tiwi footy is played!!
The boots and balls are set to arrive just before the start of the football season in the Northern Territory which incorporates the “Wet Season”.