Australia

Western Australian football club, home of two Brownlow medalists, celebrates precious milestone

While the area is known for producing two Brownlow medalists, Nat Fife, the small community of Lake Grace Pinlap has produced six AFL players from a combined population of less than 1,000.

Lake Grace Pinlap Football Club is known as the Bombers of the Ongelup Football Association.

The club celebrates its 100th anniversary on Saturday, but not many country football clubs have managed the exodus of players and the decline of people.

But in Western Australia’s Great Southern Grain Belt, the club remains the heart of the community.

Nat Fife credits Lake Grace – Pinlap Football Club for his success in the AFL.(AAP Image: Richard Wainwright)

Fremantle Dockers captain Fife visits a club he says has been one of the brightest AFL players of the century and has been integral to his growth as a player and as a person since returning home.

“I never forget where I come from,” he told ABC Great Southern.

“It’s incredible for a town. There’s real history there… Reaching 100 years, and hopefully 100 years ahead of us, is a great milestone for the community.”

The club was where Fife learned a football savvy that led to over 200 AFL matches and won two of the league’s most prestigious medals.

Among the AFL players from Lake Grace Pinlap are Richmond premiership player Liam Baker, Geelong legend Mark Bairstow and three of the Morton brothers, Cale, Jared and Mitch.

AFL players raise fists in celebration as they run past teammates
Richmond’s Liam Baker (left) is from Lake Grace-Pingrup.(AAP: Sam Unke)

Fife said he started playing for the club around his fourth year when the club’s D grade side won four consecutive premierships.

“That was my football roots…we went in, we played, we won,” he said.

“We had families like the Bairstows, the Mortons, the Slarks, who taught us how to train, how to play, how to win football, and how to come together as a team and have fun as a community. .

“That was my introduction to men’s football and it taught me a lot of the techniques to play in the AFL.”

A football club was founded just 11 years after European settlers settled at Lake Grace.

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Bill Trevenen, historian of the Lake Grace Pinlap Football Club.(ABC Great Southern: Olivia Di Iorio)

Bill Trevenen, a self-proclaimed football historian who specializes in Lake Grace Pinglap football, has spent half his life in the library, examining newspaper records of the club dating back to 1922.

“I profiled all the players [over the years] That number is about 800,” he said.

Trevenen said regional football is very important to small communities across Australia.

“I think that’s why people gather on weekends,” he said.

“In towns where football clubs have dissolved, those communities are struggling because there is nowhere for everyone to gather.”

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Shane Carruthers says volunteers are the lifeblood of the club.(ABC Great Southern: Olivia Di Iorio)

Club president Shane Carruthers said the club continues to thrive.

“A sports club is a very social organization in a small town. It gives people an outlet on sports days to catch up with people they haven’t seen in a while or a long time. is,” he said.

Western Australian football club, home of two Brownlow medalists, celebrates precious milestone

Source link Western Australian football club, home of two Brownlow medalists, celebrates precious milestone

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