Western Australia’s top male footballers aged 13-16 from diverse backgrounds converged on Lathlain Oval Saturday, 25 November, and competed in the inaugural WA Football Diversity Talent Day in front of a crowd of more than 500.
Hosted by the WA Football Commission (WAFC) in partnership with the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, the day featured four football matches involving the Fremantle Dockers’ Next Generation Academy, coached by Brady Grey, West Coast’s Naitanui Next Generation Academy led by head coach Drew Petrie, and the WAFC All Nations and Kickstart teams.
The first game of the day saw Fremantle Dockers Next Generation Academy secure a comfortable win over the West Coast Eagles Next Generation Academy who displayed a fantastic fight-back in the second half.
The second game was a much tighter affair with both teams taking the ascendancy at times throughout the game. The lead see-sawed a number of times before West Coast’s Naitanui Academy eventually prevailed.
Players in both games deserve credit for the way in which they played. There were some outstanding skills and ‘game craft’ on display and everyone played in excellent spirit.
Boys from both teams were also afforded access to some outstanding coaches to assist in their development. At West Coast, Chris Brown, Matt Debarro, Ricky Le Guay, Shaun Hughes, Nic Naitanui, Adam Selwood and Drew Petrie played major roles both in preparation for matches and/or coaching on the day. Fremantle were equally fortunate to have coaching from Brady Grey, Casey York, Sam Buhagiar, Graham Mills and Brandon Donaldson.
The 2016 and 2017 All Nations teams went head-to-head later in the day, the 2016 team proving too strong for the 2017 squad. The Kickstart match was a closely fought battle, which saw the younger side lead the way for the majority of the match, and come out on top with a seven-point win.