Goldfields and Champion Bay Clontarf academies versus police in football game to build trust and communication

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Police, Champion Bay and Goldfields Clontarf boys at half time.
Camera IconGeraldton Police, Champion Bay and Goldfields Clontarf boys at half time. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton and Goldfields’ Clontarf academies compared their footy skills on the field, joined by local police as they played a no-pressure match of footy.

Local police and the boys from Kalgoorlie Clontarf Academy met the Champion Bay Clontarf boys on their home oval as part of a police youth engagement program last Thursday.

An easygoing match offered the opportunity for the Clontarf boys to engage with police and build trust to explore positive relationships.

Champion Bay Senior High School and Kalgoorlie Boulder Community High School Clontarf students were able to meet new people from different regions and learn from each other on the field.

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Acting officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Stuart Gerreyn said the football game was an even match and everyone involved had a good time.

“The Clontarf boys enjoyed it. Our officers like to get out there, catch up with them and have a chat,” he said.

Sen. Sgt Gerreyn said with everyone on the football field, it gave everyone a chance to open up and talk about local issues.

“It’s good for the boys to see us in a different light, joining in and doing the things they enjoy,” he said.

Mental health co-response Sgt Nathan Johansen said an important role for police was to set a good example and help others in the community and involving themselves in sports activities was one way to be on the same level.

“It’s about breaking those boundaries down that have been in the community for a long time between police and Indigenous youth,” he said.

“I think we are going some way to doing that.”

Sgt Johansen said being both a father, police officer and football coach created trust in the local community.

“I think the connections I have with the community flow on from being a father,” he said.

“The work I do and connecting with the boys down at Clontarf Academy, they’re the same age as my girls.

“I relate well with the young people, I’m 48 years old myself but I connect well with the teenagers.”

A second game will be played against Geraldton Senior High School Clontarf Academy and Geraldton Police on September 8.

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