The Edmund Rice Centre Lions' newfound passion for the game of AFL may not have been reflected on the scoreboard in their debut 'Big Match' against the Eastern Hills Hawks on the weekend, but coach Atot Amoly is still proud of his team who three months ago had never played Australian Rules Football.
“Their performance was fantastic, it was a really great game,” said the 17-year-old coach, who was born in Sudan and lived in Egypt before coming to Australia in 2005.
“They’ve improved a lot since day one – which was only three months ago…looking at the score, we didn’t do too well but I’m not worried about the score, I’m still proud. As long as the boys play as a team and play for success that’s all I need.”
The Lions scored just two goals against a dominant Hawks side, who won the inaugural Harmony Cup 19.13 (127) to 2.1 (13).
More accustomed to the world game of soccer, the team of 22 newly arrived young people have turned their attention to AFL.
“Playing AFL is way different for (the Lions players),” Atot said. “On the first day they couldn’t even catch a football, they didn’t know the skills of AFL. Now they can kick and mark.
“They love AFL because of the tackling. They see AFL on TV and a lot of people in Australia support the game and they want to be part of it, they want to be part of the Australian community.”
The Lions team features three AFL World Team players, is coached and captained by the Sports Team of the Edmund Rice Centre Mirrabooka Youth Leadership Group and supported by the likes of the WA Football Commission, the Department of Sport and Recreation, City of Stirling and the Office of Multicultural Interests.
Members of the team have been busy not only training, but also serving their community as role models and coaching AFL clinics for younger people in the community.