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Melbourne Football Club

Massive turnout for Schools Gala Day

Schools Gala Day: Casey Fields As part of the Multicultural schools program, Melbourne introduced Australian Rules Football to over 400 kids down at Casey Fields
The aim is to give kids from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to learn all about Australian rules football, with the end goal that they’ll fall in love with the game and want to sign up at a local footy club
Kyle Docherty, Academy Manager

MORE than 450 year five and six students converged on Casey Fields last Wednesday, to take part in the annual Melbourne Football Club Schools Gala Day.

The Gala Day saw 16 schools from the south-east region play-off in boys and girls AFL 9s round-robin tournaments.

Many students had never played a competitive game of footy before, with their previous exposure to the game coming via Melbourne’s Multicultural Schools Program, which involved 35 schools overall. 

Melbourne Multicultural Development Officer Seb Gargana said the Gala Day was the culmination of months of hard work in 2018.

“The program goes for four weeks at each school and is targeted at high culturally diverse schools within our Academy regions, which range from Dandenong down to the Mornington Peninsula,” Gargana said. 

“At each school, students learn the fundamentals of footy, so kicking, handballing, marking and bouncing. It culminates in today’s AFL 9s round-robin, which is a non-contact version of footy.

“Many of the kids are learning footy for the first time and we want them to filter into local clubs and support the Melbourne Football Club.

Melbourne academy manager Kyle Docherty hoped that the program would create a lifelong attachment to footy for many of the students.

“The aim is to give kids from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to learn all about Australian rules football, with the end goal that they’ll fall in love with the game and want to sign up at a local footy club,” Docherty said.

“A key component of the Melbourne Academy is to provide opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds to learn the game of football and to progress through the talent pathways.

The Schools Gala Day round-robins culminated in Grand Finals, with Dandenong South Primary School winning the girls tournament while Barton Primary School took the boys trophy.

Gala Day Gallery

Here are the best photos from the Gala Day captured by Melbourne Media.