Rivalry is running high in the Gascoyne Football Association’s league of just three teams, but for the first time in over 25 years, the region’s star players will unite to take on the best of the bush at the 2022 Country Football Championships.
Most important points:
- Gascoyne footy took a hit from COVID as player numbers fell
- In the three-team senior league of the Gascoyne, the top team remains unbeaten with a percentage of 544.3
- A new committee hopes sending a Country Week team for the first time in more than 25 years will rekindle interest in football and showcase the region’s talent
As round 9 approaches, the Carnarvon Ramblers remain unbeaten with a 544.3 percentage – more than eight times that of the second tier Exmouth Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Carnarvon’s Warriors club has yet to win.
“You probably get a little tired of playing the same side week in, week out,” said Fraser Daly of Ramblers Football Club.
Teams play only eight games in the 12-round season, as one each week is forced to retire.
“But eventually people who like footy will play football anyway, and I think that’s the Gascoyne region,” he said.
‘Little tacker’ on the way to big things
After starting his football career as a “nipper” at Carnarvon, Daly says “it’s a surreal feeling” to be captain of Gascoyne’s Country Week side.
“It’s something I’ve probably had as a dream of mine to tick off since I was a little tacker,” he said.
Fraser’s sister and Tessa Daly, manager of the Gascoyne Country Week team, said her brother’s nomination was appropriate, as he was the league’s fairest and best player last year and played for the WAFL.
“I think he’ll be a great leader — without being too biased from a sister’s point of view,” she said.
There was once a fourth team in Gascoyne’s Senior Competition, but Ms Daly said COVID decimated player numbers and even wiped out the Colts competition for a year.
Ms Daly said about three years ago that a new committee of the Gascoyne Football Association was formed with a strong vision to rejuvenate football in the Gascoyne by directing a league championship match.
Despite naysayers and the financial hurdles, Ms Daly says the committee has given young players something to look forward to.
“We want football to continue to happen, so the more people we can bring together and work together, I think there will be more football played in the Gascoyne,” said Ms Daly.
“Hopefully in the coming years we can build it back up to a four-team comp, or possibly even a five-team comp,” added Daly.
A region of ‘unreal’ talent
The country championships will be the highest level of football some will ever get the chance to play, as they stand shoulder to shoulder with ex-AFL and ex-WAFL players, Ms Daly said.
There is also the option for players to be selected for the State Country Championships in Adelaide later this year.
“It would be great if a Gascoyne representative put on the jersey for them,” she said.
“I think we’ve probably been neglected a bit in the regions, but hopefully this can prove the bigwigs in the city; don’t skip the Gascoyne region,” he said.
The Gascoynes play their first Country Week footy game today at East Fremantle Oval in Perth.