Footy in their blood

Kalamunda Reporter - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

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.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt

Kelli Cross is cap­tur­ing the spec­tac­u­lar legacy of Noon­gar foot­ballers.

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