WHEN Kimberley Regional Service Providers (KRSP) wanted a new way to support and connect with the Aboriginal people who call the isolated coastal and inland communities of northern WA home, the game of Aussie Rules was an obvious inroad.
The KRSP Cup started four years ago in Broome, as an opportunity for keen, talented footballers from the Kimberley to gather annually, for football and life skills workshops and a competitive game against the Claremont Football Club (CFC) Colts.
KRSP has helped strengthen the bridge between the Kimberley communities it services and the WA Football League (WAFL) Regional Recruiting Zones, with CFC committed to drawing some of its regional indigenous talent from the picturesque but remote region.
The Tigers team, including current Eagles recruit and former Balga resident and Claremont Colts defender Francis Watson (21), caught the plane to Broome for the inaugural weekend in 2014.
The Colts participated in footy workshops and fishing, followed by a competitive match against the Kimberley Spirit, whose members gathered from Halls Creek, Wyndam, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby and Kununurra to play the game they love.
Over the years, the Tigers have won two out of the three matches and the Kimberley Spirit hopes to square the ledger at this year’s match in Broome on July 15.
CFC Talent Development Manager Warren Parker said the experience was invaluable for both Tigers and Kimberley Spirit players.
This year a Tigers team of 25-30 will travel to Bidyadanga for a range of football workshops, and to get a feel for what it’s like to live and grow up in an isolated community.
“Some of our players have no idea what it’s like for our Aboriginal recruits to come down to Perth, away from their from home and family to play football,” he said.
“The KRSP Cup is the perfect opportunity to see firsthand, the challenges of living and leaving this different way of life.
“And it’s great when players like Sam Petrevksi-Seton, raised in Halls Creek, and Francis Watson get to head back up north as part of the Tigers Colts, to show their team mates around and catch up with family, friends and other talented Kimberley footballers.”
Claremont Football Club chief executive Graham Moss said the KRSP Cup allowed the Club to continue developing its understanding of the challenges players faced when relocating to Perth to pursue football careers.
“The Kimberley community is extremely important to our Club, as are the players representing us who call it home,” Mr Moss said.
“Concepts like this only benefit our goals of providing opportunity to players from the Kimberley and being a positive influence towards the region as a whole.”
KRSP Managing Director Gary Johnson said the Cup was a way to provide Kimberley youth an opportunity to showcase their unique football talent.