Kimberley Spirit Players Test Themselves In Perth

Bendigo Bank Stadium in Mandurah, WA. Bendigo Bank Stadium in Mandurah, WA. Joharn Jack side stepping a South West Football League opponent. Joharn Jack side stepping a South West Football League opponent. Junior Shandley using one of his elite kicks. Junior Shandley using one of his elite kicks. Keifan Rogers during his three goal quarter. Keifan Rogers during his three goal quarter.

There is no bigger test for a young Kimberley footballer than travelling to Perth in the middle of Winter to play footy against some of WA's best U/19 aged country footballers. 

That's exactly what four of the Kimberley Spirit Football Academies best talents did last week after being selected from the "2018 Smarter Than Smoking Kimberley Colts Football Championships".

Keifan Rogers (Kununurra), Jai Long (Halls Creek), Quentin "Junior" Shandley (Fitzroy Crossing) and Joharn Jack (Broome) all made the trip down for the 2018 CBH Country Colts Championships (part of the 2018 Landmark WA Country Football Championships). 

Like in 2017, the Great Southern Storm Football Program offered 4 player opportunities to Kimberley Spirit, to compete with the Storm in 2018 (due to the difficulties of sending a full Kimberley Spirit team to Perth).

It wasn't a smooth trip to Perth for everyone though.

Keifan Rogers had the longest trip out of the four, boarding a bus in Kununurra at 1:40am which took 13 hours to get to Broome. Halls Creek's own Jai Long missed his 5:50am bus to Broome which caused all involved to think he would no longer be able to make it in time. Lucky enough for Jai, several caring community members made plenty of calls around to land Jai a seat on a small mining plane which departed that afternoon and got into Broome just in time for his Perth flight.

After a 9:30pm arrival in Perth, the boys were eager to get some rest before their first day of competition the following day. There were quick introductions with the Great Southern Storm Head Coach - Glynn Verbruggen, Team Manager - Jen Whittle and Head Trainer - Brad Harvey before being assigned a room at Woodman Point Recreation Camp.

The following two days involved contested Perth footy, freezing recovery beach sessions and plenty of laughs (mainly sparked by Jai Long). Unfortunately the Great Southern Storm couldn't overcome the likes of Peel, South West, Northern Suns and Regional Districts which saw them watching on when the Grand Final arrived.

All four Kimberley Spirit players showed glimpses of brilliance across the two days of competition. Joharn Jack was consistent across all games and in all positions while showing his strong marking and tackling abilities. Junior Shandley provided elite foot skills in foreign footy conditions. Jai took multiple eye catching marks and showed off his accurate set shot goal kicking. Keifan worked his way into the Championships which culminated in a three goal last quarter performance against Peel. 

The trip to Perth was rounded out by watching a Claremont FC Colts game, shopping at Watertown and spending the last night in a Perth hotel.

A big thank you to the following organisations for assisting Garnduwa make this trip possible:

  • Great Southern Storm Football Program.
  • Great Southern Football League.
  • Claremont Tigers Football Club.
  • Healthway.
  • Hertz.
  • Central Kimberley Football League.
  • East Kimberley Football League.
  • West Kimberley Football League.

All queries regarding the Kimberley Spirit Football Academy can be directed through Kimberley Spirit Program Coordinator - Shaun Norman on 0412 618 938 or kspc@garnduwa.com.au.