Another Footys4all North Queensland Road-Trip

Back when Michael Gallus, director and founder of the Footys4all Foundation, first linked with the Pyramid Power junior football club in Gordonvale, Queensland, he saw and fell in love with Walsh’s Pyramid, the mountain that towers over the small sugar town.


He always stated that one day it was his wish to “have a kick of a footy” at Power Park in Gordonvale, home ground of the Power, and a ground with one of the most picturesque backdrops anywhere in Australia. Last week, Michael got his wish.


As part of his latest Footys4all sojourn to distribute sporting balls to less privileged kids across the country, Michael and his crew of fellow volunteers made their way to Cairns and linked up with the people of the Pyramid Power club to travel the region and visit a number of schools.


Pyramid Power president, Brett Kennerley, put the itinerary in a nutshell. “We went to Yarrabah High School, Yarrabah State School, Cairns Adventist College [a new campus based in Gordonvale] and Djarragun Indigenous College.” At each location Michael and his team gave out footballs and netballs to grateful students who, in many cases, did not have a ball of their own. That is part of the joy that Footys4all brings to kids.


The timing was also right for Pyramid Power. As a club they have just embarked on another new crusade. They have so many girls wanting to play Aussie Rules locally, especially through Djarragun Indigenous College and the aboriginal community of Yarrabah, across the range to the east, that they have recently entered the first ever AFL Cairns Juniors girls only team in the overall Under 13’s competition – a first for the region and something rare otherwise.


Footys4all arrived at the height of the launching of this new team, and with girls receiving just as many footys as the boys did, this girls team may grow even bigger. The new Waragnu Power team played their first game last week. As Brett Kennerley says “they lost, but at least they scored.” It might be that way for a little longer until the girls find their feet, but the boys need to prepare now for the future.


Brett stated that “Waragnu comes from the local dialect and means Female/Lady.  The idea was to give an initiative that is different, a name that is different.  It gives the team ownership as most are related to the local clan, even though most wouldn’t know much about the native tongue.  It also shows that Pyramid Power are proud of the fact that we are numbered at around 92% indigenous players.”


The arrival of Footys4all at this time gave great drive to the idea that girls can get on board, not as a minority addition to existing teams, but with a voice and team of their own. Watching the girls at the local schools kicking their Footys4all footys around proudly just added to the power of the outings.


Quite apart from Michael Gallus linking up with two of his Footys4all ambassadors in Cairns (Brett Kennerley is a Sporting Ambassador, whilst I am an Education Ambassador for the cause) – he desperately wanted to have that kick on the oval.


A match was cobbled together with those wearing the Footys4all promotional shirts to play against the speed, skill, power and athleticism of the Pyramid Power players present.


The theory was that if the Footys4all team ever actually got possession of the ball they were to take off like startled hares towards to goals using any means possible (Aussie Rules, Soccer, Rugby League – any skill at all that retained possession). As it turned out the planned was flawed from the start – it involved getting access to the ball, which the Power boys would not allow.


However, we did all have a run around together. Some of us did get a few kicks – mainly in the backside – but we did achieve something special. Footys4all and Pyramid Power united in a cause to spread the joy of footys to kids across the northern reaches of Queensland AND united as a footy team playing against the youth of the future.


The only evidence of the game came through a highly doctored piece of video footage. For the benefit of our Footys4all team egos (our average age would have been in the 40’s somewhere, despite having the youth of Ross Faulkner’s son, Jack, in the team – thanks to Ross Faulkner and his team for the generous sponsorship of the footys) it was decided to keep the footage of us dinosaurs in everytime we did well, and edit out the youth so they didn’t show us up. The result was 30 minutes of footage reduced to about 1.17 minutes of Footys4all team player highlights.


So, Michael’s wish came true. To have a kick around on Power Park under the watchful gaze of Walsh’s Pyramid. But at the same time the dreams of many kids came true also as they received their own footy or netball from the Footys4all team as they travelled Far North Queensland.


Thank-You Footys4all.


About Wesley Hull

Passionate lover of Australian Rules football. Have played and coached the game and now spend my time writing about the game I love and introducing young people to the game through school coaching. Will try and give back to the game what it has given me for more that 40 years.

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