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Pat Clancey & Andrew Leonard

Our final feature story from our club’s success stories of multicultural engagement takes us out of Australia.

At Hawthorn Amateurs, their involvement in multicultural development extends beyond the realm of Rathmines Road Reserve. The White River Demons in the Solomon Islands have been the beneficiary of equipment (water bottles, training bibs, cones and footballs) from the Hawks through their secretary Paul Nunan whose brother Michael is living there.
Australian rules football has been around in the Solomon Islands for around 8 years in the form of clinics, school competitions and representative games, but until this year has never had a formal senior competition. The Solomon Islands Australian Football League is made up of 4 teams competing in an 11 round season with the top two teams playing off in the grand final.
The White River Demons were born from a group of guys who played rugby in the White River area but were too tall or lean to compete against the big Polynesians on the rugby field. They had seen an Aussie guy by the name of Michael Nunan kicking a rugby ball like a Sherrin and were intrigued about the game of AFL. They wanted to give it a crack so Michael put the wheels in motion and started the team.
Michael Nunan is the brother of Hawks backman and Secretary, Paul Nunan. They approached the Hawks for some support in starting up their team, which we were more than happy to give. We gathered up all the footballs, training vests, cones, water bottles and medical equipment we could spare and sent it on its way to the Solomons. This equipment would be vital to the Demons as they were looking at playing out the whole year using just 2 under sized rubber footballs, and no cones for training drills!
Beyond the White River Demons, the footballs provided by the Hawks have also been spread around to the other clubs and used in league matches.
If you have any footy gear that you would like to donate to the White River Demons, please get in contact with Paul Nunan on  [email protected] or President/Secretary/Coach/Full Forward Michael Nunan on  [email protected] Once again the VAFA is proud of the link our clubs hold with a diverse range of cultures, and with them we celebrate the great success, understanding, acceptance and compassion this brings to all of our lives.
We had an overwhelming response from all of you wanting to nominate your story to be featured this week. Hopefully you all enjoyed reading these stories and also inspired you to do more at your club to engage with members of the community from different backgrounds.
May the best team win on Saturday and may we continue to welcome people from different corners of the world to play Australian rules football.
This is an extract from the story Hawks Helping Australian Rules Footy In The Solomon Islands, for the complete story by Pat Clancey  click here.