The West

Sheedy leads salute to Noongar history
Sheedy leads salute to Noongar history

AFL great Kevin Sheedy wants indigenous people from WA's South West to be forever honoured as football legends because of their extraordinary contribution to the national game.

Sheedy and WA football identities Barry Cable and Grant Dorrington are constructing a team of the best Noongar players of all time to mark this weekend's national celebration of the game's indigenous stars.

It will include some of WA's most famous players, including Graham Farmer, Cable, Stephen Michael, Peter Matera and current Fremantle defender Michael Johnson.

The four-times Essendon premiership coach, who played a key role in bringing indigenous brill- iance to life in the AFL through players such as Michael Long and Derek Kickett, said the Noongar story had never been adequately recognised.

"It is a great story not only in football, but in Australian his- tory," Sheedy said.

"The Aboriginal people have never got what they deserve and in this situation, this is the best tribe in Australia.

"They are the Zulus of this nation, they are warriors and to me, it's about giving credit where credit is due.

"This race of indigenous people have been magnificent for our game and one of the great stories, historically, in the AFL."

Though the team will not be finalised for a month, Sheedy said he was proud to name Kickett in the centre. The pair were at the centre of one of football's most famous fall-outs when Kickett was left out of Essendon's 1993 grand final side, but Sheedy hoped the rift would soon heal.

"Derek and I will sit down one day and talk because he is an excellent person," he said.

Dorrington said the long list of stars from the Noongar people made the task of picking the final team a difficult one. But it had also been satisfying to look back at some of the players who had helped shape the game.

"I didn't realise how many great Noongar players there have been and the biggest problem with picking the team was who to leave out," Dorrington said.

"Even when you look at all the McGuires and the Collards and the Kicketts and the Narkles … it is quite incredible.

"It's amazing that from such a small percentage of people, the Aboriginal community of Noongars, how many great players there have been and in some cases you're talking about superstars.

"It is a remarkable fact that there are more Noongar players in the AFL than from any other Aboriginal group of people in Australia."

The West Australian

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