Mallee Tigers roar towards Indigenous carnival

Record representation from Mallee

A record six teams of Sunraysia’s Koori footballers and netballers will head south this weekend for the annual Victorian Indigenous carnival.

Four Mallee Tigers netball teams (competing in A Grade, C Grade and D Grade) and two Mallee Tigers football teams (A Grade and B Grade) will contest the Victorian Aboriginal Community Service Association Limited (VACSAL) titles at Ballarat.
It’s a three-day Statewide celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sport and culture, with the aim of bringing together communities from across the State and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The Sunraysia contingent has not been short of success at the carnival in the past, with the footballers winning the B Grade two years ago and finishing runner up last year after being elevated to A Grade.
In netball, the largely unchanged line-up that took out the B Grade title last year is chock full of confidence taking on the higher A Grade competition this year.
Mallee District Aboriginal Services is sponsoring the teams by covering travel costs for the weekend and MDAS Regional Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking Nathan Yates is also coaching the A-Grade football team.
“Training has been fantastic from all the groups this year,” Yates said.

“The enthusiasm has been building over a few years, but this is certainly the best preparation we’ve had of any of the three carnivals the Mallee Tigers have been involved with,” he said.
“So we’re hoping that will translate into on-field and on-court success this weekend.”
Netball coordinator Tessa Clark said the strongest growth in participation was in the netball teams.
“I think the message has really got through to the community that this is a great weekend and a fun opportunity to catch up with other people from across the State,” Clark said.
“We’re training really strongly and we’re hoping we’ll be making some finals, but I guess the real point is to get people involved in competitive sport that builds healthy lifestyles in a lot of ways.
“Being part of the teams strengthens relationships within the groups but also in the wider community and that’s really what it’s all about.”
The football teams are coached by Nathan Yates and Ricky Handy, while the netballers are being prepared by Dallas Kirby, Tessa Clark, Ceno Biles and Brady Matthews.

• Sunraysia players also performed well at the State underage Indigenous carnival at Echuca last week.  Four Under 15 players (Elijah Brown, Kobe Peterson, Michael Hooker and Khoder Jackson) were in the Cummeragunja Mission team which unsuccessfully contested the grand final.  Five Sunraysia netballers (Sharnti Gould, Olivier Bowden, Keina Mitchell, Nalin Mitchell and Shelby Hooker) were also runners up in their Grand Final, playing with the Lagunta Sisters Team (part of the Richmond KGI team). 

Pictured: (L-R): MDAS Acting CEO Keith Hampton; Michael Harrdine, Tyreece Kelly, John Jackson; front Lois Taylor, Nikita Williams and Tiffany Douglas.
Netball: Lagunta Sisters Team, including Sharnti Gould, Keina and Nalin Mitchell, Shelby Hooker and Olivier Bowden
Football: Under 15 boys representing Sunraysia, Elijah Brown, Kobe Peterson, Michael Hooker and Khoder Jackson

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