HIGH Wycombe Football Club players Robbie Gregory and Alex Seymour will represent WA next month in a national inclusion carnival in Queensland.
The lads are part of a 16-strong team selected from the WA Amateur Football League (WAAFL) integrated football program, started in 2010 after WAAFL clubs recognised people with intellectual disabilities were keen to join local clubs.
Selection for the State team is multi-faceted, with football clubs asked to nominate players they believe are of good character and possess above-average skills.
Kalamunda SHS Education Support Centre student Alex (18) of South Guildford, said he was proud to be picked from his club to represent the State at the national sporting event.
“I’m a bit nervous but once I’m playing it will be awesome,” he said.
Robbie (30) said winning joint best and fairest was an earlier career highlight, along with playing in the State team for the first time in 2015.
“We played very tough teams and one thing I like is the tough teams to play against, the good games and meeting new people,” he said.
Robbie’s father Dave said the lads were role models for people with disabilities because they showed what could be achieved in life.
Integrated football co-ordinator and coach Greg Gilbee said it meant the world to the players to be part of the State integrated team.
“It’s recognition of their terrific character, personal values, commitment and application,” he said.
“The players understand they are representing the clubs who nominated them, the program and the wider community, so selection comes with a great deal of pride and responsibility.”
Mr Gilbee said volunteers at local football clubs provide a sense of purpose and belonging for players.
“At the end of the day, our integrated footballers want the same opportunities afforded to mainstream footballers, the chance to be the best they can be.”
WA team sponsor Community TAB of Racing and Wagering WA will support the players at the week-long AFL games against every state, culminating in finals and selection of an All Australian team.
The 2017 AFL national inclusion carnival will take place from July 24 to July -30.