By Mitch Guy
A SHOWPIECE of indigenous talent lit up Bass on Saturday when former AFL stars Aaron Davey, Austin Wonaeamirri and Liam Jurrah pulled on the boots for Kilcunda-Bass against Korumburra-Bena.
And the crowd wasn’t left disappointed with the trio showing off their exquisite skills in the Alberton FNL’s first indigenous match.
It was a big day for Kilcunda-Bass and the league with dozens of match attendees enjoying a buffet Sportsman’s Lunch and an exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity with the ex-Demons.
A traditional smoking ceremony and dance was led by local Bunurong descendant Steve Parker alongside 21 local children who participated in both ‘Creation’ and ‘Celebration’ dances during the ceremony.
Indigenous musician Kutcha Edwards was special guest MC for the day.
The match played out as expected with the imports’ class evident from the outset.
Giants defender James Fowles had the big job on Jurrah who roamed close to goal for the Panthers.
Fowles and Giants supporters alike were pleased to learn Jurrah forgot to bring his own footy boots with him on his journey from Alice Springs.
He was forced to borrow a set of boots from current Melbourne young gun Jesse Hogan and they didn’t quite fit him correctly.
This may have been the cause of his 5.5 return at half time.
He finished with 6.7 for the day and the Giants would be dreading what he may have been capable of in his own boots.
Wonaeamirri chipped in with two goals and Davey managed a single major.
Kilcunda-Bass coach Scott Andersen said the trio were a pleasure to coach.
“You don’t tell those guys what to do, they’re really instinctive,” he said.
“They’ve just got exquisite skills and they really wanted to share the ball with our players and bring them into the game.
“Every time Davey got the ball, before he’d even taken a step Jurrah was running to a spot.
“They posed for every photo with every kid, signed autographs and hung round for few beers afterward.”
In a display of Davey’s good nature, Andersen also noted that he gave advice to both Kilcunda-Bass and the opposing Korumburra-Bena players during the match.
The indigenous match was a great success with Kilcunda-Bass reporting its highest gate taking in many years and the crowd embracing the concept.
Organiser John Murray said it’s likely the Indigenous Round will become an annual event, with teams from as far as Traralgon and Bairnsdale already showing interest in a match.
And the former AFL players’ appearance with Kilcunda-Bass has sparked interest from afar, with Davey informing the crowd after the match that a number of indigenous boys from the Northern Territory were interested in pulling on the Kilcunda-Bass jumper for next year’s indigenous match.
Brisbane triple-premiership player Darryl White was one of those, with the high flyer phoning the club on Saturday night to register his interest.
This match could very well be the start of a successful initiative by the Alberton FNL and Gippsland League.
Inverloch-Kongwak will host Phillip Island in the next Alberton FNL indigenous match on Saturday July 4.
On Sunday July 5, Wonthaggi Power and Leongatha will also face off in the Gippsland League’s first indigenous match at Wonthaggi.
All sides will wear inspired jumpers, as designed by local school children.