Collingwood Football Club (CFC) players returned to Tennant Creek this week as part of its Community Camp, the first since the Covid-19 pandemic.
After the footy team worked up a sweat working out at the Barkly Regional Council’s Fitness and Wellness Centre on Tuesday, they headed to Purkiss Reserve to meet local children and Collingwood fans at a free Community BBQ hosted by AFL Barkly.
As part of the Community Camp, AFL stars Jack Ginnivan and Bassirou Faye, former Collingwood legend Leon Davis and a team of staff visited the Tennant Creek Primary and High schools.
Barkly communities were also a focus with the players sharing football skills at Elliott, unfortunately the road access to Newcastle Waters was closed to the rains.
CFC’s Indigenous Program Manager Debby Lovett said the aim of the camp was bring to two VFL and AFL players each and various department staff to remote communities to them an understanding of the issues many remote communities face.
“It gives our players a clear understanding of the negatives and positives in remote communities and they all go home with different, but always positive experiences,” said Debby.
“The players and staff are always impressed by the community’s interaction and their love of footy. They really get involved and ask plenty of questions.”
Debby said Collingwood star player Mason Cox was a prime example of the positive influence the Community Camps has on players.
“Some players and staff in Melbourne might not have even met an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in their life,” she said.
“Mason Cox visited the Barkly on a past Community Camp and now he comes to the Territory during his holidays. He loves learning about culture and community in his own time travelling remote Australia. Another player Brody Grundy was so taken with the remote communities, the Elders gave him a skin name because of the interest he showed in their culture and learnings he took on board.”
This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 3 March 2023.