The West Coast Eagles recently ventured to the heart of Western Australia to participate in the Martu Youth Festival.

Schools and community development officer Brad Dalziell and membership satisfaction and retention coordinator Ryan Jackman joined representatives from Swan Districts Football Club, Softball WA, Basketball WA, the WA Football Commission, Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service, Fair Game, Jigalong Police, Punmu Corporation and Rawa Community School at the three-day festival that celebrates Martu culture, sport and music.

This year’s festival was hosted at Punmu, located 1800km north-east of Perth.

The Martu Youth Festival is one of the sporting and cultural projects run by Ngurra Kujungka, a community-driven regional sport and recreation program that has recently expanded its charter to include art, music and cultural events to its arsenal of offerings.

Ngurra Kujungka incorporates seven of WA’s most remote communities – Warralong, Nullagine, Jigalong, Parngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji and Kiwirrkurra

The centrepiece of the festival is a football carnival contested by the aforementioned communities, which Punmu won this year following a thrilling final against Kirwirrkurra.

Some of the best performers from the carnival will participate in Friday’s Western Desert Shield, a curtain raiser game that will take place before West Coast’s crucial round 17 clash with Collingwood at Optus Stadium.

Bouncedown for the Newcrest Mining Ltd Western Desert Shield is 4pm. Gates at Optus Stadium will open at 3.55pm.

Western Desert Shield participants will also be afforded an opportunity to train with the Eagles’ Naitanui Academy and vie for a spot in the North West Academy, which could lead to selection in various WA Football Commission development programs.

The Martu Youth Festival would not be possible without the financial and logistical support of Ngurra Kujungka, Newcrest Mining Ltd, Martu Charitable Trust and Healthway.

The West Coast Eagles would like to extend a special thanks to Ngurra Kujungka chair Bruce Booth, Punmu hosts Milton and Lloyd (Kiwirrkurra), plus Mike McMonigal, Adam Norton and their team for making us feel so welcome at the festival.