Gordy Clinch is a happy man.
He’s been involved in the football KickStart program for six years and has watched WA win the National Indigenous KickStart Championship five years in a row, this year at Cairns in Queensland.
And this year Gordy got the opportunity to travel with the team as assistant team manager as recognition from the WA Football Commission for his dedication to the program.
Gordy is footy team manager, co- forward line coach (with Shaye Hayden), and bus driver for Aboriginal boys playing in the Nicky Winmar Carnival and Stephen Michael Cup, a program that forms the basis of selection for the WA KickStart team.
It’s a great program and “I’d like to see more young Indigenous boys put their name down for the next one.”
The program was developed by the AFL to provide a supported, talented player pathway that complements the National U16 Championship exposing Aboriginal players, coaches, doctors, physiotherapists and trainers to an elite AFL program environment.
Each year, every state is represented by a team of 25 Aboriginal players, aged 15 and under who compete in the National KickStart Championship. The team is led by Aboriginal coaches, trainers and support staff.
The WA KickStart Squad, including coaches, is selected from the carnival based on leadership qualities, school attendance, community involvement and playing and coaching ability.
Gordy said over the six years he has been involved he’s seen some deadly young Indigenous footballers come through the program.
“It’s a great program and I’d like to see more young Indigenous boys put their name down for the next one,” he said.
“I’d like to thank some people that got me involved in this program; Adrian Bartlett has been a great role model, also Merrilyn Green for giving me support and to my mum and dad.”
WAFC Community Engagement Manager Paul Mugambwa said this year was the first time that the WA Football Commission had taken an assistant team manager outside of its staff at the commission.
“Given the great commitment and passion you have demonstrated over the years with involvement in the Nicky Winmar Carnival and the Stephen Michael Cup, we wanted to reward you for the efforts and be part of this special trip,” he told Gordy.
Other coaches included: Head Coach, Shaye Hayden; Backline Coach, Andrew Beck; Centreline Coach, Jermaine Davis; Forward line Coaches, Gordon Clinch/Shaye Hayden; Team Manager, Chris Brown; and Trainers, East Perth Football Club.