Guys, girls face off in footy fundraiser

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Perera

The Dampier Sharks’ Pow­der­puff foot­ball game on Sun­day pit­ted girls against guys in a show­case game to raise money for in­jured ju­nior player An­gus John­ston. His team­mate Jaxon Mar­riott, pic­tured, was one of about 50 guys and 30 girls who took to the field in front of hun­dreds of spec­ta­tors show­ing their sup­port.

The girls of the Dampier Sharks well and truly stole the spot­light from the guys in their club’s nov­elty fundraiser match at the week­end.

Hun­dreds of Dampier com­mu­nity mem­bers and lo­cal foot­ball sup­port­ers turned out to Windy Ridge Oval on Sun­day for the Sharks’ pow­der­puff match, held to fundraise for ju­nior player An­gus John­ston, 15, who was se­ri­ously in­jured in a crash in Dampier last month.

The pow­der­puff for­mat, an old Sharks tra­di­tion, re­quired the men’s team to play wear­ing thongs, with­out tack­ling and while hold­ing a drink in their hand at all times — spilling it cost­ing them a free kick — while the women could go all out.

About 30 women and 50 men took to the field for an en­ter­tain­ing game and the girls pulled no punches on their way to a tri­umphant win — though no of­fi­cial score was kept and fi­nal es­ti­mates ranged from one point to sev­eral goals the dif­fer­ence.

Match or­gan­iser and Dampier Sharks player Dy­lan Leech said it was a de­served win for the women’s team which gave as good as they got and had played “ab­so­lutely filthy”.

“It was actually re­ally good watch­ing them sing (the Sharks) song af­ter­wards,” he said.

He said he was stunned at how the pow­der­puff match idea had grown to draw such a large and en­thu­si­as­tic crowd, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Kar­ratha Fal­cons and Kats foot­ball clubs.

An auc­tion, sausage siz­zle and drinks do­nated by the Dampier Mermaid also con­trib­uted to the fundraiser, which was pre­dicted to have raised up to $10,000.

Sev­eral of An­gus’ fam­ily mem­bers at­tended the game and gave an up­date on the 15-year-old’s progress.

An­gus’ fa­ther Craig John­ston said his son was cop­ing well and would be watch­ing a live feed of the game from his hos­pi­tal room.

“He’s in re­ally good spir­its,” he said.

“His doc­tors, physio and all the re­hab staff are pretty amazed at how far he’s come, and they’re think­ing he may come home sooner rather than later.”

Mr John­ston said he was over­whelmed at the level of sup­port the com­mu­nity showed for his fam­ily.

“It’s re­ally heart­warm­ing to know there is such sup­port be­hind us,” he said.

“There are peo­ple here who don’t even know An­gus who have ral­lied be­hind him, and it’s re­ally touch­ing.”

He thanked the Sharks, other NPFL clubs and lo­cal busi­nesses who had con­trib­uted to the fundraiser match.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Perera

A women's team player keeps the ball off the men dur­ing the John­ston pow­der­puff fundraiser.

The gals’ and guys’ teams add some ex­tra height for a ruck con­test. Pho­tos avail­able at west­pix.com.au

A beer-car­ry­ing men’s team player dodges an op­po­nent after his foot­ball.

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