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Rumbalara Football Netball Club builds community spirit

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Minjaara Atkinson, Rumbalara Football Netball Club, Shepparton, VIC
Minjaara Atkinson, Rumbalara Football Netball Club, Shepparton, VIC
27 Sep 2012

There’s a lot more than sport happening at Rumbalara Football Netball Club (RFNC).

Located in Shepparton, Victoria, the club has competed over 16 seasons. During 2012 the club fielded four football and nine netball teams in local competitions. But it’s the wider benefits for the local Aboriginal community that have really earned Rumbalara Football Netball Club its reputation.

The Australian Government Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and sport provides funding to the Rumbalara Football Netball club through the Indigenous Sport and Active Recreation Program, for their ability to promote good health, social inclusion and community building.

 And that, Rumbalara Football Netball Club president Paul Briggs said, is exactly what RFNC is all about.

 “The club’s been one of our real saviours in the community around having a home to belong to and a place to live in Shepparton,” Paul said.

“It gathers up all the Aboriginal kids and family groups in our area. So we’ve used it as a great social interaction tool for our mob.”

RFNC senior footballer and Yorta Yorta man Josh Atkinson said promoting healthy lifestyles was another important focus for the club.

“We don’t promote drinking, we advertise quit smoking, we actively go through good health practices, hoping that that will spill out into the community,” he said.

And as members grow up in the club, progressing from players to coaches, Paul said they had the chance to learn valuable leadership skills.

“It allows us to build our role models, build our mentors and build skills in our club that gives people who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to take roles of leadership in sight of the community or their families.”

Young Yorta Yorta woman Minjaara Atkinson discovered she could be a good role model when she moved from playing netball at Rumbalara Football Netball Club to coaching. She said it was an opportunity to help the younger girls make good decisions off the netball court too.

“You’re not going to be stupid because you’ve got little kids watching you,” Minjaara said.

 “I’ve got to be in their eye because they’re like ‘well she’s doing that so I could do that one day’. Me graduating high school and going to uni I guess is something the little kids can look up to now and they can stick to it.”

Find out more

For more information about the Indigenous Sport and Recreation Program visit the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Art and Sport.