It was seven years ago and a year after Rachel Parnaby and her husband had emigrated to Perth from the UK and settled in their first house in Joondalup.
‘West Coast who?’ the Manchester United fan and now Eagles business analyst said to her husband.
‘Then I did a bit of research and thought what better way to integrate myself into Australian culture than to go and work for a brand like West Coast Eagles,’ she told the audience before a City of Joondalup citizenship ceremony on the oval and the Falcons-Subiaco clash.
‘Australians love their sport and I thought why not give it a go.’
Rachel, who with her boss Deane Pieters is responsible through new business projects for securing West Coast’s future, has been at the forefront of an Eagles partnership with West Perth to promote the game in the northern corridor.
The clubs’ Spirit of Mateship program is the brainchild of Falcons director Scott Ballem.
‘When Scott approached the Eagles last year it was a no-brainer for us to get involved,’ Rachel said. ‘Obviously West Perth are leaders and innovators in this area and the international round today is a fantastic example of the power of engaging with the community.
‘Promoting football in new markets and engaging with emerging and diverse communities is a key strategic priority for both clubs to achieve long-term growth.
‘The Eagles are dedicated to fulfilling our community commitments statewide, but the northern corridor of the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo is certainly one of the areas of key focus for us.
‘So West Coast and West Perth are developing a long-term project and we have a business plan in motion, the aim of which is to service the fastest growing migrant and multicultural community in this State.
‘Using football as the vehicle we are trying to encourage social integration and cultural acceptance.
‘The name Spirit of Mateship derives from the Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality loyalty and friendship.
‘So it’s an apt name to use and the citizens getting sworn in today will all have read that word ‘mate’ because it comes up a lot in the citizenship book test.’
West Perth-West Coast Eagles partnership objectives:
– Integrate: Introduce new Australians to footy and promote social and cultural integration.
– Motivate: Inspire and embrace cultural diversity and recognise traditional owners of the land.
– Educate: Provide access to trained leaders in the industry who can promote cultural acceptance and teach life skills.
– Connect: Reach young people who would not otherwise engage with Australian football.
– Contribute: Encourage community participation and volunteering.
– Cultivate: Link West Perth and the Eagles with the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo, schools, ECU and other learning institutions, police, business and other stakeholders.