Northampton makes WAFL debut for Cyclone Seroja recovery with local Teakle talent returning to their homeland

Northampton hosted its first WA Football League games on a historic day for the city that saw local talent shine and funds raised for the recovery from Cyclone Seroja.

The inaugural Seroja Cup saw three local members of the Teakle family play for the East Fremantle Sharks – AFL draft hopeful Brynn Teakle and her cousins, sisters Julia and Tiani Teakle.

In the men’s league, the Sharks faced the East Perth Royals, winning 91-75, with Brynn Teakle putting in two goals and one point on the scoreboard.

In the women’s league, they edged out the Claremont Tigers by 48-22 points in a top-of-the-table clash with the two Teakle sisters kicking goals.

Julia and Tiani Teakle
Former Rams Julia and Tiani Teakle said it was an honor to be back in their home country.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

Julia Teakle said the strong game would bode well for the rest of the season.

“It was great to get the win on the board for first on the ladder at the time,” she said.

She said supporting Northampton’s recovery was important to her.

“I remember last year we were pulling nails out of the oval,” she said.

“It’s crazy to see how far the city has come and the resilience they’ve shown.”

Brynn Teakle
Brynn Teakle said she hopes the event will help expand the WAFL more locally.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

Brynn Teakle said the family was personally affected by the disaster.

“The family farm is 10 minutes from Northampton. We lost some sheds and my grandma and dad’s house; the roof has collapsed, unfortunately,” he said.

“The damage was terrible for the community, so it’s good to raise some funds for the cause.”

Local AFL stars give back to locals

About 2,000 people attended the event, with an estimate of over $20,000 raised from ticket sales alone.

Great Northern Football League games were also played.

The Northampton AFL Rams were one of the driving forces in getting state league games in the city, alongside the local Shire who re-turfed the oval and the WA government who gave an $80,000 donation to the Western Australia Football Commission. .

Kids watching WAFL game
Supporters of all ages attended the event. (ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

The Northampton AFL Rams is a fundraising group involving the city’s AFL players, including organizer Andrew Lockyer, who said the group has continually shown support for Northampton.

“We all have respect for our city and love for our city,” he said.

He said the fundraising was just one of the reasons for hosting the game.

“It’s more about community involvement, taking your mind off what’s to come with recovery and rebuilding,” he said.

“It certainly has provided a lot of buzz in the city.”

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Former football player Andrew Lockyer said he initially didn’t know if a WAFL game was possible, but that “everything fell into place”.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

West Coast Eagles star Josh Kennedy supported the event and said the sport brought the inner cities together.

“Knowing that the city was able to support me and many of us on this youth journey into the AFL system, many of us are more than happy to give back to a city that has given us so much.”

Impulse to reclaim the city

Northampton County President Liz Sudlow said the support shown by Northampton’s AFL prodigies during Seroja’s recovery was “almost overwhelming.”

“The support they showed the city and community as we navigated our way out of the cyclone recovery was incredible,” she said.

Young football fans at WAFL game
Some young footballers were also able to participate in the half-time game(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

Mrs. Sudlow said some of the funds would go towards purchasing a power generator for the city’s elderly care center and some for Kalbarri.

“There are a lot of accommodations that are still unusable, and a lot of entrepreneurs are struggling to do that,” she said.

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