Moree soccer player Kenny Wright has been selected in the National Indigenous Football squad after impressing selectors at the Australian Indigenous Football Championships earlier this month.
Wright was one of three Moree players to represent the Northern Nations squad at the Australian Indigenous Football Championships, which were held in Brisbane from Thursday, November 8 to Saturday, November 10.
Adam Ha and former Moree player Lori Depczynski, who now plays in the Newcastle Women’s Premier League, also competed in the championships, while Moree’s Darrel Smith was the coach of the men’s Northern Nations side.
The Northern Nations is made up of indigenous players from seven nations representing different tribal groups across Northern NSW, including Kamilaroi people from around the Moree area. Each team is also allowed two non-indigenous players.
“We talk to Northern Inland Football and get a list of the Aboriginal players from the region and see who’s most suitable for a position and make up a squad of 16 players for the men and women’s sides,” Smith said.
“We’re getting more and more players each year, so eventually it’ll come down to selection trials.”
Both the men’s and women’s Northern Nations sides played well at the championships, with the women’s team making it to the semi-finals.
Unfortunately they lost 1-0 to the eventual winners of the tournament, the North Queensland Brolgas.
Meanwhile, despite only losing one game and conceding only two goals the whole tournament, the men’s side just missed out on a place in the semis after a draw and loss against the eventual winners during the round robin competition.
“We were really strong,” Smith said.
A national squad was selected based on performances at the championships.
Five players from the men’s Northern Nations side, including Moree’s Kenny Wright, were selected for the national side.
They will compete against teams from across the Pacific at the Arafura Games, to be held in Darwin in April 2019.
Smith said the Northern Nations is improving each year and is continuously attracting more players. They will be looking at increasing junior participation and plan to run a number of camps in areas with a high Aboriginal population over the coming months to attract more juniors. A camp is scheduled for Moree in early January.
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