In November, FourFourTwo attended the National Indigenous Championships and made a short film to find out how football is reaching out to embrace the Indigenous community.
When it comes to the number of Indigenous athletes at the elite level, Australian football has a problem.
Compared to other codes football is lagging. Indigenous people make up two and a half per cent of the total Australian population, but in the AFL they make up nine percent of the playing list while the NRL boast’s even higher figures with 12 percent.
During the 2015/16 A-League season one time Socceroo and current Brisbane Roar Defender Jade North, was the only Indigenous representative in Australia's top flight.
There are over 1 million participants who play football in Australia and 6,541 Indigenous footballers are registered to clubs around the country.
Both John Moriarty Football (JMF) and the inaugural National Indigenous Football Championships are trying to arrest that problem by creating programs to identify Indigenous football talent.
On the 5th of November 2016, FourFourTwo attended the inaugural Indigenous men’s’ and women’s Football Championships which was held in NSW’s Shoalhaven. The historic event was hosted by the Wreck Bay Football Club (FC) and saw teams from across Australia compete and close to 1000 participants taking part.
National Indigenous Football Championships event organiser Bernie McLeod first started the Wreck Bay Football Club in 2005 to combat chronic diseases that affected members of his family and community. He also wanted to raise the profile and awareness of those health issues by using football as a tool to get people active and motivated to play sport.
The Johnny Warren Football Celebrity Match was played in the spirit of reconciliation and featured Indigenous stars Anthony Mundine, and Nathan Blacklock and former Socceroo Craig Foster.
During the Indigenous Football Championships FourFourTwo spoke to FFA CEO David Gallop, Indigenous Socceroo star Jade North, Chair of the Johnny Warren foundation, Jamie Warren, Northern Territory Buffaloes coach Steve Lolias and Buffaloes player Dominic Hale.
The short film attached addresses the issues that relate to Indigenous football and the work that is being done to find the next Kyah Simon and Jade North.
Interviews and video by Con Stamocostas and edited by Jason Kiss.