Bigger than just football

Bigger than just football

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Tyler Gould, Trent Fleming, Kellee Thomas, Jarrod Staines, Ben Miller, Luke McLachlan with Minister for Sports and Member for Armadale Dr Tony Buti. Photograph - Richard Polden

The new Integrated All Abilities team at Kelmscott Bulldogs Football Club will host its first All Abilities Grand Final this Saturday.

Robert Turner from Kelmscott Bulldogs helped establish the club’s first Integrated Team earlier this year to include people living with difficulty or disability and give them a platform to participate in AFL through both playing and non-playing opportunities.

This season 11 club participated in the All Abilities football with participants from Fremantle CBC, Coolbinia, High Wycombe, Kingsway, Mandurah, North Beach, Warnbro Swans, Wembley, Willetton, Curtin University and Kelmscott played through the season with four teams making the Grand Finals in Division A and B.

This weekend on Saturday, August 21, Willetton will play reigning premiers Coolbinia in the Division A Grand Final held at John Dunn at 2pm.

The Curtin University team will play Kingsway during the Division B Grand Final at 12pm.

Kelmscott’s Inaugural year in the competition finished monumentally achieving their first win and participating in the final series, which lead to their elimination final game against North Beach.

The team started with seven players and finished the season with 16 players, thanks to help from a magnificent group of volunteers and supporters.

Club Football Director and Team Coach Robert Turner said the team is still building with various playing and inclusive roles still available.

“It is bigger than just football, and establishing a team in the South East corridor is highly important to the very large population of people living with disability in the area,” he said.

“Hosting the Integrated Grand Finals at Kelmscott is particularly important in bringing a pathway for many people in the community who would like to connect with the competition or a local community sporting club.

“When I started the team, I found a lot of people aspired to become supporters and non-playing participants.

“The club has created many non-playing participation roles that are equally as rewarding as the playing opportunities.

“We all have a lot of fun at training and have a lot of fun on game days, with our social post game gatherings.”

Minister for Sports and Member for Armadale Dr Tony Buti has supported the team from the early concept and supported Mr Turner and the Volunteers throughout the season.

In Australia around one in five people live with a disability, and participation in sport for people with a disability over the age of 15, is only 24 per cent compared to 64 per cent of those without disability.

Such opportunities for access to sport are very important. Kelmscott Integrated Football Team is the first inclusive AFL team in the South East Corridor and within the City of Armadale and competes with other clubs across the metro area.
For more information, please contact Robert Turner on 0409 922 923, or email Kelmscott1898@outlook.com.