In­juries open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties

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

THROUGH pre-sea­son and into the first eight rounds of the year, a lot has been made of our in­jury list, which has been quite ex­ten­sive.

We ob­vi­ously know that we’re not go­ing to see Mitch Brown or Eric Mackenzie this year and that’s in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­point­ing. As team­mates you hurt for them be­cause you know how much work they have done to pre­pare for the sea­son.

Aside from Eric and Browny, we have also been with­out Scott Sel­wood and Jack Dar­ling. Then Simon Tun­bridge suf­fered a se­ri­ous an­kle in­jury and a cou­ple of the young blokes – Mur­ray New­man, Damien Cavka and Tom Lamb – have all spent most of the sea­son in the re­hab group, re­cov­er­ing from in­juries.

Un­for­tu­nately it's part of foot­ball and you feel for them.

It has cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity for some of the younger guys and they could hardly have been more im­pres­sive.

Coach Adam Simp­son used his post­match me­dia con­fer­ence af­ter our St Kilda win last week to cam­paign for first-year mid­fielder Liam Dug­gan to be nom­i­nated as the Ris­ing Star for round eight.

We all want that to hap­pen be­cause we reckon he de­serves the recog­ni­tion.

I was on the end of some lace-out passes from Duggo and I am go­ing to en­joy play­ing in front of him for a long time. He has be­come an im­por­tant part of a mid­field unit, which is re­ally do­ing a great job.

With the backs and mids do­ing their thing so well, it’s made life a bit easy for those of us play­ing for­ward. THE West Coast Ea­gles have al­ways had a strong con­nec­tion with in­dige­nous Australia, start­ing, in a play­ing sense, through the pres­ence of Chris Lewis and Phil Narkle as part of the in­au­gu­ral 35-man play­ing squad.

Along the 29-year jour­ney of the club, it has boasted some of the most ex­cit­ing in­dige­nous play­ers in the coun­try; Lewis, Narkle, Peter Mat­era, Ash­ley Sampi, Troy Ugle, David Wir­rpanda, Phil Mat­era and cur­rent play­ers like Shar­rod Welling­ham, Jamie Ben­nell and Josh Hill among them.

They have made an enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion to the game and have de­lighted West Coast fans along the way.

West Coast’s an­nual home game to mark In­dige­nous Round oc­curs this Sun­day af­ter­noon, when the Ea­gles host Gee­long.

The club, which last year launched its first spe­cially de­signed in­dige­nous guernsey, based on the work of lo­cal Noon­gar artist Peter Farmer, has un­veiled a strik­ing yel­low ver­sion of that jumper to wear this week­end.

The guernsey tells the story of the waal­itj (wedge-tailed ea­gle), which is the strong­est totem in Noon­gar cul­ture. The tra­di­tional Noon­gar dreaming story is about a great drought; one where the an­i­mals and Noon­gar peo­ple could not find any fresh­wa­ter sources.

The waal­itj’s eye was the only one that could find wa­ter from search­ing high up in the sky. The Noon­gar peo­ple fol­lowed him and al­ways found a fresh wa­ter source.

His strength and power is re­spected and revered through­out Noon­gar coun­try be­cause of his ca­pac­ity to not sim­ply over­come ad­ver­sity, but to suc­ceed in places that oth­ers fail.

Sun­day’s match day ac­tiv­i­ties will be themed to ac­knowl­edge, cel­e­brate and pay trib­ute to the con­tri­bu­tion Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Is­lan­der peo­ples have made to foot­ball.

Part of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude help­ing to pro­mote the work of the Wir­rpanda Foun­da­tion to re­duce the gap be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in our so­ci­ety, as well as as­sist in rais­ing money to en­able this work to con­tinue.

Wir­rpanda Foun­da­tion pash­mina scarves, jig­saws, pins and caps will be avail­able.

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

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