A Team of Champions: Stratton director’s doco focuses on local footy team

Stratton director Kelli Cross.
Stratton director Kelli Cross.

NOONGAR footballers have starred in Aussie rules for decades and their spectacular legacy is the subject of a new documentary by Stratton director Kelli Cross.

Ms Cross said A Team of Champions delved into the history of West Australian footballers, from Graham Farmer to Lance Franklin, and what made them exceptional on the field.

Ms Cross said the documentary featured interviews with 24 Noongar players and a mix of biographical and sporting archival footage.

“Noongars represent a vast majority of the indigenous players in the AFL at the moment,” she said.

“The South-West represents and has always represented on that level for so long and are just so good at it.”

Ms Cross said the series was not only about recognising these players’ achievements and accolades but also to learn about who they were and what their history was.

“From when these players were little they have always had a footy in their hand,” she said.

“Many have come from small country towns where football was their social lifeline.

“They grew up watching their fathers and uncles playing footy and wanted to be deadly like them.”

Ms Cross said the 1980s was the golden era when Noongar players emerged as powerhouses on the field.

“Back then these guys had a job and went to training twice a week. When the footy season ended these guys went back to their normal lives,” he said.

“Today it is a full-time job, with so much pressure to perform week after week.”

A Team of Champions, supported by Screenwest and Lotterywest, is shooting in East Perth at the ABC building for the next couple of months before post-production begins later in the year. It will screen on NITV and AFL Media.

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