Tur­tles search­ing for glory

WARMA FOOT­BALL CLUB HUNT­ING THE TEAM’S FIRST FLAG IN NINE YEARS

Shepparton News - - SPORT - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

Club ri­val­ries have been set aside for the week­end when Warma Foot­ball Club trav­els to Bal­larat in search of glory.

The Warma Tur­tles in­clude some of the best in­dige­nous foot­ballers in the re­gion, in­clud­ing Echuca co­coach and for­mer Carl­ton player An­drew Walker and for­mer North Mel­bourne player Djaran Why­man.

Play­ers from Rum­balara, De­niliquin and Pi­cola have joined the team, which heads to Bal­larat’s Mars Sta­dium for the Vic­to­rian Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­nity Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion Lim­ited se­nior foot­ball and net­ball car­ni­val, on the hunt for the team’s first flag in nine years.

But the jour­ney will not be an easy one — Warma will come up against some of Vic­to­ria’s lead­ing in­dige­nous foot­ball teams.

Start­ing to­day, the Tur­tles face the Mallee Tigers and the Fitzroy Stars, some of the strongest teams in the com­pe­ti­tion, play­ing two of their five games on the first day.

Game lengths are short­ened for these games, to two 15-minute halves.

If they qual­ify for the fi­nals on day two, a semi-fi­nal and grand fi­nal (con­sist­ing of four 15-minute quar­ters) await the Tur­tles.

Warma cap­tain Djaran Why­man said his team could not wait to get started in the hopes of re­claim­ing the cup they have not won since 2010.

‘‘In Vic­to­ria it’s the largest gath­er­ing of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in one place — it’s like a mod­ern day cor­ro­boree,’’ Why­man said.

‘‘Of late we’ve been send­ing teams down to com­pete. An Echuca team first won nearly 25 years ago and we’ve been send­ing teams ever since.

‘‘We’ve had a re­cent run where we com­pleted a hat­trick in 2010 and then we lost the grand fi­nal last year,’’ he said.

Set­ting aside the dif­fer­ences of their club sides was the easy part, Why­man said, and the play­ers have banded to­gether well.

‘‘Most of the year we’ve been good and we have a great com­mu­nity of in­dige­nous boys that come up here to play, so we’ve had a good strong side of late.

‘‘We have Far­ran (Priest) at Echuca United and a few from Deni too, so we have a strong mix and also we have a few that play up here but live down in Mel­bourne who we meet up with.

‘‘So there’s a good spread of foot­ballers from around Vic­to­ria here. We also have the coach of Nu­murkah (Jye War­ren) here too, so there’s al­ways a good bit of ban­ter here be­tween the Mur­ray league guys, but it’s all fun,’’ he said.

And with a good mix of for­mer-AFL tal­ent mixed in with the class of the lo­cal play­ers, Why­man was confident this could be Warma’s year.

‘‘I think An­drew (Walker) last played for us in 2001 when we went to Al­bury so it’s good to have him in the side and good for the younger boys to see how he plays and if they’re as­pir­ing to play next level footy they have him to look up to,’’ he said. Ready to go:

Nu­murkah co-coach Jye War­ren is part of Warma Foot­ball Club’s squad.

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