First Nations footballers took centre stage as Football NSW won the inaugural NAIDOC Cup on Wednesday.
Northern NSW Football and Football NSW selected one male and one female squad each with players aged between 14 and 16 to play each other on Awabakal land at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
Football NSW won the girls match 4-3, with Tataya Curry-Jones and Larissa Ryan scoring hat-tricks for Football NSW and NNSWF respectively.
Dianna Bloxsome scored the decisive goal for Football NSW.
Football NSW dominated the boys fixture, running out 10-0 winners.
Fidel Lucas Hawke scored a hat-trick, with Obinna Nwamadi and Lucas Turk scoring doubles.
Brayden Connors, Anthony Melissari and Jacob Fakhoury also scored for the visitors.
NNSWF Legacy Plan Manager Annelise Rosnell said she was delighted to see the concept come to life.
“The NAIDOC Cup coincided with NAIDOC Week and was a real celebration of First Nations communities, culture and football,” Rosnell said.
“The event itself was a great success despite the wet weather and we received a lot of positive feedback. I’m so glad our proud and talented First Nations football community got the chance to shine and represent themselves, their family, their culture and heritage.”
The matches were also officiated by an all-Indigenous match official team including level two referee Samantha Newell and Football Mid North Coast assistant referees Cayne Elford and Mahlia Hoskins.
The NAIDOC Cup is an important part of NNSWF’s plan to increase opportunities for First Nations footballers, coaches and match officials.
“The NAIDOC Cup together with the RTC Group NNSWF Talented Indigenous Scholarships are about connecting with our region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage,” NNSWF CEO David Eland said.
“We want more football opportunities for First Nations communities and this is a chance to identify and showcase the next generation of coaches and players.”
The event was created in partnership with Football NSW and driven by NNSWF’s Indigenous Reference Group.
The NNSWF team was sponsored by RTC Group who, as the inaugural partners of the Talented Indigenous Scholarships, continue to partner with NNSWF on these scholarships and other First Nations’ football initiatives.
RTC Group founding director and executive chairman Richard Claut said his organisation valued supporting equitable outcomes for underrepresented communities.
“RTC Group is recognised as a leader through partnerships helping our local community,” Claut said.
“NAIDOC Cup footballers and coaches will be role models in their communities and will encourage others to follow in their footsteps. We are proud to play a part in this fantastic initiative.”
2022 NAIDOC Cup Results
Northern NSW Football 3 (Larissa Ryan 3)
Football NSW 4 (Tataya Curry-Jones 3, Dianna Bloxsome)
Northern NSW Football 0
Football NSW 10 (Fidel Lucas Hawke 3, Obinna Nwamadi 2, Lucas Turk 2, Brayden Connors, Anthony Melissari, Jacob Fakhoury)
Football NSW win 2022 NAIDOC Cup