Stars and fans turn out to celebrate Northampton’s festival of footy

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Josh Kennedy poses with a group of kids at the Northampton festival of footy,
Camera IconJosh Kennedy poses with a group of kids at the Northampton festival of footy, Credit: Lachlan Allen

The Mid West community has turned out in their thousands to support Northampton for Saturday’s festival of footy, highlighted by East Fremantle’s 10-point win over East Perth for the Seroja Cup in the WAFL.

In a historic day for the town, crowds flocked to the Northampton oval to raise money for the town one year on from cyclone Seroja.

There wasn’t a single free seat in the main stand, while cars lined the oval for a better view of the action.

The event was the culmination of a year of planning and hard work for organiser and former AFL player Andrew Lockyer.

Around 3000 people attended and while it is too soon to tell how much money has been raised, there is no doubt the day was a massive success.

Northampton's oval was packed on Saturday.
Camera IconNorthampton's oval was packed on Saturday. Credit: Barry Mitchell/Snapaction

Fremantle great and MC for the day, Paul Hasleby, said it was an amazing day, pointing out the relationship between East Fremantle and Northampton.

“We’ve seen a lot of the AFL players that have come from this town have gone through that pathway. So significant to raise much-needed funds for those that have done it pretty tough but also to show the young kids the pathway that if they want to really follow their dream of footy, it’s certainly possible.”

Fresh off kicking his 700th goal on Friday night, West Coast Eagles star and Northampton’s own Josh Kennedy was one of the main attractions, signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

Teakle sisters Julia and Tiani smile after their sides over East Perth.
Camera IconTeakle sisters Julia and Tiani smile after their sides over East Perth. Credit: Lachlan Allen

“I know a lot of people up here who been affected from (Seroja), cousins down on farms and to family that live in town,” Kennedy said.

“It’s been a massive year for a lot of people in town, the slow rebuild is happening and a lot of the AFL Rams funds (a fundraising initiative for the town by current and former AFL players) is based around building community spirit.

“So we’ve been able to put in a lot of things hopefully to help build that and today is just one of those things to help get a community together and put a smile on people’s faces.”

The State Government contributed $80,000 towards the event, with Minister for Sport and Recreation David Templeman saying it couldn’t be underestimated the way that community sporting events brought people and communities together.

Josh Kennedy and Paul Hasleby in Northampton.
Camera IconJosh Kennedy and Paul Hasleby in Northampton. Credit: Justine Rowe/Around the Traps

“I think that’s one of the great achievements of today, the fact that the local community, the regional community, and people from Perth have come along, to not only support the footy that’s taken place here but to recognise that, for many in this region, it’s been a tough 12 months,” he said.

“There’s a lot more rebuilding and a lot more healing to continue, but the genius I think of those that thought about using football, and community sport, that includes both men and women, which is really important.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity and the community’s come out, you walk around here, people are enjoying the fact that they can get out and about share in the beauty of the place, the heritage of the place, and watch some great football.”

East Fremantle's captain Matthew Jupp holds the Seroja Cup after his sides victory over East Perth.
Camera IconEast Fremantle's captain Matthew Jupp holds the Seroja Cup after his sides victory over East Perth. Credit: Lachlan Allen

Northampton sisters Julia and Tiani Teakle, and their cousin Brynn, all played for East Fremantle back at their old home ground and all scored wins for the Sharks.

The Teakle sisters helped the Sharks women beat Claremont and go further ahead on top of the WALFW ladder.

“Family were impacted pretty hard, sheds blown over and roofs off and Kalbarri was also hit really hard. So it’s great to see such a big turnout to raise some funds. Just a year ago, we were picking nails off the oval, so it’s crazy to see it now,” Julia Teakle said.

Organisers hope funds raised will help in recovery efforts, including buying a generator for the town’s aged care facility.

Josh Kennedy with a young fan in Northampton.
Camera IconJosh Kennedy with a young fan in Northampton. Credit: Justine Rowe/Around the Traps

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