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Inaugural Reconciliation Football Netball Match

Red Hill Football Netball club members Jemelya Gadsby and Shaydon Bloomfield with their designs used for the Reconciliation Match football jumper and netball bib. 

Red Hill and Crib Point Football Netball Clubs will play in the first Reconciliation Match to be held on the Peninsula on 18 May, ahead of Reconciliation Week.

The Match, which will be held at Red Hill, has been organised by the two clubs involved in the clash, Peninsula Health, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Frankston City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Narim Marr Djambana and Willum Warrain Aboriginal Associations.

“We hope this local ‘grass-roots’, joint effort will encourage other local sporting clubs to follow the lead of the AFL Reconciliation Action Plan program and strive toward creating a more culturally welcoming sporting environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” says Graham Sherry, President of Red Hill Football Netball Club.

The day will include a welcome to country, smoking ceremony, digeridoo duet, cultural art and craft activities, as well as matches from 9am.

Peninsula Health, Health Promotion Practitioner, Chris Kirkpatrick, has been a part of the planning group.

“My role is to encourage sporting clubs to consider creating more inclusive and welcoming environments for Aboriginal people because feeling unwelcome is one of the reasons why some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people decide not to participate in sport,” explains Chris.

“The Reconciliation Match is an opportunity to get together, have fun and strengthen relationships between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.”

There are many benefits to being involved in local sporting clubs, according to Marija Ivankovic-Mollo Acting Senior Program Manager, Family & Youth Services, Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain over-represented across health, education and other areas of social disadvantage. Improved participation in sporting clubs and community will, in turn, support improved health and social outcomes,” says Marija.

“It is hoped the Match will improve accessibility for Aboriginal children, young people and their families into our local sporting clubs and communities.”

Crib Point Football Netball Club President Stephen Espenschied is excited his club is part of the inaugural Reconciliation Match.

“This is a chance to build something special and recognise our Indigenous history,” he says.

“Crib Point has many past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players including the Glass brothers.”

Red Hill also has a number of players and club members who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

“There are some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players participating in the event. They are proud to wear the uniforms they designed which affirm and honour their community,” says Graham Sherry.

Reconciliation Match, Saturday 18 May, from 9am

Red Hill Reserve, Arthurs Seat Road, Red Hill VIC