Flying Boomerangs return from footy tour to Fiji
At the beginning of December, AFL NSW/ACT Kickstart players, David Whyman and Wesley Clark traveled to Fiji as a part of the Rio Tinto Flying Boomerangs Leadership Program.
In its twelfth year, the Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs is the national Under 16 male Indigenous development program. Twenty-six talented Indigenous players from across the country participated in the eight-day camp, which focused on personal and career development, leadership and learning about cultural identity.
During the tour, the squad traveled to the various islands of Fiji, meeting the locals and learning about their culture. They also attended a local church ceremony and took part in a high-performance training session. One highlight from the trip also included visiting the family home of West Coast Eagles player, Nic Naitanui whose background is Fijian.
Whyman, from the South West Tigers Football Club in Sydney, said the tour was unlike any he had experienced before.
“It was an incredible experience. My favourite part was when we went to Suvavou Village at night and just experienced their raw culture,” said Whyman.
“It’s similar to ours and was just an amazing experience in general. Going to these villages and being shown how little they have, made me feel sorry, but they had to be the happiest people on the planet, so they helped me change a couple of things myself.”
While experiencing the Fijian culture was one goal of the tour for the Flying Boomerangs, developing their football was also a major aim. Whyman, whose next football goal is to make the Under 18s Allies, says the tour assisted him in building his AFL skills as a part of the national group.
“Footy’s going well. Obviously I’m going through the hell they call ‘pre-season’ but im learning a lot as I’m now in the GIANTS Academy.
“I have to give my thanks to all the coaches for giving me constructive feedback, which helped me improve my game. I have to give special thanks to Graham, our team psychologist, for helping me prepare me mentally for the games, as its been one of my weak points in the past. I also can’t thank the rest of the boys enough for making it fun and a great experience.
“It was such an amazing experience for both culture and footy – it was enjoyable and makes me want to do more with myself.”
If you would like to know more about AFL NSW/ACT Indigenous Programs and the Rio Tinto Flying Boomerangs, please contact Charlee-Sue Frail at CharleeSue.firstname.lastname@example.org.