Cultural harmony on the field

West Perth’s Naidoc Round jumper designed by Hellena Stokes.
West Perth’s Naidoc Round jumper designed by Hellena Stokes.

And Arena Joondalup will offer a fitting location for the celebrations, with the Joondalup district named in recognition of the area’s rich Aboriginal heritage and Lake Joondalup a place of spiritual importance.

For West Perth, which in the future could be sporting the Aboriginal title Joondalup Falcons, Naidoc Round 2014 is looming as one of particular significance.

Earlier this year, chief executive David Crute spoke of the embarrassment of West Perth being the only WAFL club without an indigenous player in its senior line-up.

But the Falcons have made a concerted effort to rectify the issue, with the arrival of Andrew Krakouer proving to be an effective step forward.

While the 2010 Sandover medallist’s recent retirement after four league games was disappointing for the reigning premiers, his work as the ambassador for the Falcons’ junior indigenous side, Djinda Falcons, has impressed club officials. 

The AFL grand finalist also had a hand in luring former under-16 State player Chris Yarran (20), cousin of his namesake at Carlton, to West Perth with the prospect of playing in 2015. 

League coach Bill Monaghan said the club’s use of the Krakouer profile had led to a noticeable increase in the Aboriginal presence at Arena Joondalup.

‘The young indigenous kids in the community have really embraced that and they’re enjoying being around the club,’ he said.

‘We’re hoping to develop them both as people and as footballers.

‘Most Friday nights, if you wander down to the club, there’s 50 or 60 young indigenous boys and girls running around at training sessions and playing games so it’s been fantastic.’

Krakouer will be the special guest at a luncheon in the lead-up to the Falcons’ league clash with Swan Districts on Saturday.

The side will be wearing a commemorative playing jumper, which matches that worn by the Djinda team, designed by young Aboriginal artist Hellena Stokes.

Club sponsor Channel Nine has prepared a TV commercial in support of the game.