Fly­ing visit sup­ports dev­as­tated town

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Sport - With Josh Kennedy

EV­ERY week there are lessons to be learned from play­ing in the AFL.

Against Fre­man­tle a cou­ple of weeks ago we were slow to get go­ing, so a key fo­cus was for us to get away to a bet­ter start.

We took that into Sun­day’s game against Bris­bane at the Gabba and we were much more proac­tive against the Li­ons. It was good to get out of the blocks, build a handy lead and then build on it through­out the rest of the game.

Some­thing else that was sat­is­fy­ing was see­ing Fraser McInnes make his AFL de­but. We all know how hard he has worked for that op­por­tu­nity and all of us were happy for him to get his chance af­ter be­ing on the list for four years.

Frase was one of a few young play­ers who have come into the team this year and had an im­pact.

Jack­son Nel­son and Liam Dug­gan were drafted only last year and Dom Sheed came in the year be­fore. They have all done a great job and Duggo was re­ally im­pres­sive when he subbed into the game against the Li­ons late in the third quar­ter.

I was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a bul­let pass from Duggo in the last quar­ter and it re­minded me of the pre­cise kick­ing skills of Shan­non Hurn.

This week we play GWS, an emerg­ing team that is go­ing to be tough to beat at Subiaco Oval.

While they had ac­cess to some of the best young tal­ent in the coun­try for a few years, they have done a good job in re­cruit­ing some ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers like Cal­lan Ward, Tom Scully, Heath Shaw, Shane Mum­ford and Ryan Grif­fen. WEST Coast rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing for­mer cham­pion Dean Cox, headed to Carnar­von ear­lier this month to meet lo­cals fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion caused by Cy­clone Ol­wyn.

The mid-March cy­clone wreaked havoc in the town, flat­ten­ing ba­nana plan­ta­tions, fam­ily homes and com­mu­nity cen­tres.

A del­e­ga­tion of West Coast rep­re­sen­ta­tives, headed by the games record holder and cur­rent ruck coach, ar­rived on Satur­day to put smiles on the faces of res­i­dents.

Join­ing Cox was emerg­ing small for­ward Mal­colm Karpany, Phil Narkle, who was a mem­ber of the club’s in­au­gu­ral squad in 1987, and for­mer West Coast rookie Jar­rad Oak­ley-Ni­cholls.

The club has a strong affin­ity with the re­gion, hav­ing held its com­mu­nity camp in the town sev­eral years ago af­ter a sim­i­larly dev­as­tat­ing sys­tem flat­tened ev­ery­thing in its path.

Over the course of the week­end, the Ea­gles en­tourage vis­ited sev­eral of the af­fected ba­nana plan­ta­tions and other ar­eas of the town.

They at­tended a com­mu­nity event on Satur­day af­ter­noon and pre­sented tro­phies at a lo­cal speed­way meet­ing, giv­ing the Carnar­von res­i­dents a sense that there is sup­port as they go about the tough process of re­build­ing.

Cox said the visit was short but he left feel­ing like he had made a small dif­fer­ence to the peo­ple of Carnar­von.

“We had a great time up there; the peo­ple were fan­tas­tic,” he said.

“The ba­nana plan­ta­tions have been dev­as­tated; they’re go­ing to be out of com­mis­sion for nearly a year at least, so they’ve re­ally taken a hit.

“But they’re re­silient peo­ple and lovely peo­ple. They were ex­tremely wel­com­ing to us and couldn’t have made us feel more wel­come.

“We just hope we raised their spir­its a lit­tle.”

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group is an af­fil­i­ated part­ner of the West Coast Ea­gles.

Phil Narkle, Dean Cox, Mal­colm Karpany, Carnar­von lo­cal Sas Richards and Jar­rad Oak­ley-Ni­cholls.

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