Players from Baulkham Hills Hawks AFL Club and the Parramatta Goannas have spread a lot of goodwill while showcasing their skills during a recent trip with South Melbourne Districts FC to Tiwi Islands near Darwin.
The South Melbourne club ran an AFL coaching clinic and played two friendly matches against local teams, making new friends and adding to their experience. The visitors won their games against St Marys FC and the Darwin Buffalos. They learned a lot as it was played at a faster level in hot and humid conditions.
Promising AFL player Evan Custovic represented two clubs, Baulkham Hills Hawks and Parramatta Goannas AFL, who teamed up with the South Melbourne Districts FC.
The boys ran the AFL clinic for the students at the Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School, with everyone enjoying the rich experience.
In 2023, the Hawks were part of a joint venture with the Parramatta Goanna Youth Football Alliance for the U15-U17 age group. They had a successful season, making it to the grand finals.
Michael Bright, the Parramatta Goannas president, liaised with South Melbourne for this trip. This was the first time that the Goannas had travelled interstate for the sport. The other Parramatta Goanna players were Coby Bright, Mark Mifsud, Finn Kelly, and Keiran Arnott.
This is the third annual trip that the SMDFC have organised to Darwin as they spread the popularity of footy.
Evan, who starts Year 11 at Castle Hill High School in 2024, has been with the Hawks since the under-8s and plays for the U16/17 team. He said he loved the lifestyle up there, being so laid back.
The Hawks, established in 1976, have a strong junior base and have won many premierships over the years.
The Tiwi Islands are part of the Northern Territory, 80 km to the north of Darwin, adjoining the Timor Sea.