Tennant Creek players enjoying new island home

Three young Northern Territory men are enjoying life on a new island home thanks to the long-standing and respected Indigenous recruitment program at Dudley United Football Club.

This is about the eighth year that the Kangaroo Island football club has recruited and imported Indigenous talent from northern Australia.

Club president and A Grade coach Simon Wheaton said the program continued to work well and the three current recruits were now all playing and working well on the Island.

“It’s all about teaching them new life skills and independence and going to work, while helping our club play good football in return,” Wheaton said.

This year’s recruits are Nicholas Corbett, Jamarl Bostock and Mattaniah Bain, and all three are from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Corbett is working as a farmhand with Wheaton at his Red Banks farm, Bostock is doing landscape and building work at Penneshaw, while Bain has landed a 12-month traineeship at Dudley Wines.

The Indigenous recruits are usually billeted out with KI families but are all together at the moment.

And they are just hitting their strides on the football field too.

“Their fitness has built up and they are adjusting to our style of football,” Wheaton said. “Instead of running around with 20 super fit and fast Aboriginal fellows, they are now playing with 16 maybe not so fit as they can be blokes.”

Dudley United’s indigenous recruitment program was the subject of an excellent documentary entitled “New island home”, created by Ninti Media producers Amy Pysden and Daniel Clarke.

It was just announced on the weekend that the film by Ninti Media has been selected for screening at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

The documentary was launched at Dudley Wines in December 2017 and now an excerpt even plays on the SeaLink ferries on-board entertainment system.

The Dudley Indigenous recruitment program began in about 2010 and was the brainchild of AFL recruiter John Turnbull and Dudley Wines owner Jeff Howard.

It has been supported by the Clontarf Foundation, which was set up to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men through sport.

The program relies on generous donors and families that billet the young men for six months of the year.

The club continues to work with the foundation and also Turnbull to recruit new players each season.