Three West Coast Eagles Community and Game Development staff from Perth worked alongside Newman Youth Engagement Coordinator, Brendon Daily, to facilitate the carnival and coordinate the specifics of the day with various stakeholders from across the Pilbara region.

Now in it's second year, the East Pilbara Carnival is designed to provide players from across the region with an opportunity to represent their local communities, and for some, it provides the only structured age-appropriate carnival for the year.

A major component of the carnival is the collaborative approach to collectively impact within the community. An incredible 23 organisations including Ngurra Kujungka, the West Australian Football Commission, Swan Districts Football Club, SEDA College WA, The Y, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation, Cricket WA, and the Shire of East Pilbara all played pivotal roles in the carnival providing vital transport and services for participating youth.

A further host of local partners and emergency services were also on hand with activities and giveaways to keep players entertained between games, whilst showcasing and promoting the services they provide to youth in attendance.

Newman Youth Engagement Coordinator Brendon Daily led much of the carnival’s preparation and was thrilled to see all the work leading up to it pay off with such a successful day.

“We had teams from Newman, Tom Price, Paraburdoo and the Western Desert competing in a round robin format, so it was great to see solid numbers in both the boys and girl’s divisions which enabled all players to have multiple games across the day,” he said.

“It was a fantastic representation of communities across the Pilbara with First Nations players making up 80% of the approximately 80 male and female players in attendance on the day.

“Football aside a huge highlight was the engagement from the community and the key stakeholders in attendance who created an amazing carnival type atmosphere and exciting environment around the ground in a sea of colour and marquees which really created a great atmosphere for the players.”

The Club took two SEDA College WA students from the West Coast Eagles Sports Development Program up to the carnival for the first time, with the students working alongside Community and Game Development staff in the planning phase and on game day.

“The SEDA students were very engaged and had a broad array of duties including set up, umpiring, coaching and mentoring throughout the carnival whilst setting a good example for participating youth; a lot of them of a similar age,” said Daily.

Naitanui Academy Manager Chris Brown praised the talent on display at the carnival and the opportunity to further develop the existing academies the Club has in place within the Pilbara region.

“For us in the academies it was great to get back up to the Pilbara to be part of another talent carnival which is a key area for us. To get up to Newman and see some of the young players that have travelled across the region playing on their own deck was fantastic,” Brown said.

“We’re continuing to grow our reach in Newman through our local academies so to see some of the kids in action first-hand was great. Hopefully it’s a starting point for them to A; come and join our local program and B; get more involvement from the local community competition which for now is quite small.”

With a lack of structured youth girls’ competition in towns across the Pilbara, the Club is committed to supporting the work existing stakeholders and the communities themselves are doing to provide football opportunities for aspiring young females in the region.

“There isn’t a female competition up there at the moment so to be able to bring the girls in and have 20 play in a game including girls from the Western Desert communities and Newman was massive,” said Brown.

“To see some pretty talented young female players with varying skill levels was a really big steppingstone to getting a local competition up in Newman, and the West Coast Eagles will continue supporting communities across the region in working towards that goal.”

The West Coast Eagles are proud of their youth engagement partnership with BHP, allowing collaboration with key stakeholders to facilitate impactful activations across WA.