“Every time I turned my head and asked an Indigenous player where are you from, they all said I’m a Nyoongar from Western Australia.”
Speaking to Perth Now, chairman of selectors for the Nyoongar All-Star team and coaching legend, Kevin Sheedy says the overrepresentation of Indigenous players from the Nyoongar nation in premiership football is one of the greatest stories in Australian football history.
It's a sentiment that spurred the new NITV documentary series, Nyoongar Footy Magic which documents the lives and careers of five game-changing Western Australian Nyoongar Aussie Rules champions.
Presented by Ernie Dingo, Nyoongar Footy Magic profiles football legends including Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer, Barry Cable, Nicky Winmar and Jim and Phil Krakouer, and relays their stories of triumph.
The Nyoongar People are the traditional owners of their land, Nyoongar Boodja, in the southwest of Western Australia, and in the last sixty years, this Indigenous nation has provided many of the greatest AFL football stars. These athletes known for their skill and lightning-fast reflexes; a world standard athletic achievement which has energised the sport while bringing national recognition and pride to their people.
Following colonisation of their traditional homelands in South Western Australia, and by overcoming the terrible hardship that ensued, the Nyoongar people mastered Australian Rules football and used it as a way to pioneer bold new futures in the face of adversity in a changed world. Football became a passion for generations trapped in missions, homes and on reserves ready to kick beyond the confines of marginal life and unite the nation through their inspirational passion, power and talent.
Producer Shakara Walley says that working on the documentary was a career highlight,
"It’s been a privilege to work on this documentary series which recognises and acknowledges the incredible history of these amazing Nyoongar footballers; what they achieved and what they have contributed to the game and community. It’s exciting that this important piece of Nyoongar history is now captured for all of Australia to see," Walley says.
Nyoongar Footy Magic will air Wednesday, 30 May 9pm and be available On Demand after broadcast.