The Naitanui Academy visited Port Hedland last weekend in what was the West Coast Eagles’ final community outing before travel restrictions came into place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drew Petrie and Ashley Sampi were in the Pilbara town to participate in a Town of Port Hedland ‘Have a Try’ night held at Wanangkura Stadium.
Football, cricket, motorcross and yoga displays were all on show demonstrating to kids of all ages the many and varying sporting opportunities the community provides.
The Friday night event showed the great community involvement Port Hedland boasts with volunteers and parents assisting to promote their favourite sports and hobbies.
There was plenty of ‘high vis’ on show, with many BHP employees rolling up their sleeves straight after knock off to kick footballs with kids and demonstrate the art of handballing.
Academy assistant coach Ashley Sampi said he was impressed with the community’s attendance.
“The town has provided a great event to engage with the community and the sports on offer,” Sampi said.
“Footy is our favourite of course, but to see so BMX, basketball and other sports that ensures kids up here get an opportunity to be outside and active here in Hedland.”
On Saturday, the Academy partnered up with Swan Districts Football Club and the WAFC to provide the Pilbara’s most talented youth footballers with a two-day high performance camp.
Led by Swans Talent Manager Greg Harding, the camp consisted of training sessions, player education sessions - including wellbeing, coach education and two scratch matches.
Academy Head Coach – Drew Petrie said he was impressed with the camp and what it offered local footballers.
“To have young footballers involved from Newman and the Western Desert right across to Karratha and Dampier ensures there is a pathway from Pilbara football to WAFL football,” Petrie said.
“Greg Harding and WAFC Regional Manager Vicky Agnew have done a great job in supporting football in this region.”
The AFL’s Next Generation Academies provide draft concessions to the West Coast Eagles for Indigenous and Multicultural footballers in the Pilbara.