Ea­gles in­te­grate well at train­ing

Stirling Times - - Look Local -

USU­ALLY known for his goal-kick­ing prow­ess, West Coast Ea­gles star Josh Kennedy was in­stead field­ing in­ter­est in his fa­cial hair at a re­cent visit to North Beach.

Kennedy and de­fender Jeremy McGovern ran a train­ing ses­sion for North Beach Foot­ball Club’s in­te­grated rules team on March 20 at Charles Ri­ley Re­serve.

Known this year as I Grade, in­te­grated foot­ball pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple with spe­cial needs to play foot­ball.

Club pres­i­dent Gary Stocks said the am­a­teur play­ers loved getting close to their he­roes, with one even ask­ing to touch Kennedy’s beard.

“They all loved it,” he said. “They re­ally en­joyed be­ing a part of it.”

He said the Ea­gles play­ers also rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity.

“They just had big smiles on their faces,” he said.

“They un­der­stand the ef­fect they can have on their fans.”

North Beach will be part of the WA Am­a­teur Foot­ball League in­te­grated com­pe­ti­tion for the first time this year, with 10 play­ers cur­rently signed up.

Eight play­ers trained through­out last sea­son and Mr Stocks said they be­came in­volved with other teams at the club.

“The great thing about it was they were im­mersed in the foot­ball club,” he said.

“Their par­ents said to us that it was the first time they had felt in­cluded in some­thing.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence that our in­te­grated guys had last year with­out even play­ing a game was sen­sa­tional, so if that’s in­dica­tive of what can be achieved, I so en­cour­age any­one who wants to be a part of it to join.”

The club is hop­ing to field a team of 18 this sea­son and in an­other first will also fea­ture a women’s team.

To join, email pres­i­dent@nbfc.com.au.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d480688

Jeremy McGovern and Josh Kennedy with the In­te­grated footy team at Charles Ri­ley Re­serve.

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