Northampton scores WAFL debut for Cyclone Seroja recovery

Northampton has hosted its first WA Football League games on a historic day for the town, which saw local talent shine and funds raised for the Cyclone Seroja recovery.

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

In the men’s league, the Sharks faced off against the East Perth Royals, winning 91–75, with Brynn Teakle putting two goals and a point towards the score.

In the women’s league, they overcame the Claremont Tigers 48–22 points in a top of the table clash with both Teakle sisters kicking goals.

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

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

“It was great to get the win on the board for the top spot on the ladder at the moment,” she said.

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

“I remember just last year we were picking nails off the oval,” she said.

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

Brynn Teakle
Brynn Teakle said he hoped the event would help expand the WAFL more locally.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

Brynn Teakle said the family had been personally affected by the disaster.

“The family farm is 10 minutes from Northampton. We’d lost a few sheds and my Nana and Pop’s house; the roof blew off, unfortunately,” he said.

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

Homegrown AFL stars give back to locals

Around 2,000 people attended the event, with an estimate of more than $20,000 raised from ticket sales alone.

The Great Northern Football League games were also played.

The Northampton AFL Rams were one of the driving forces for getting state league games in town, alongside the local Shire who re-turfed the oval and the WA government that gave an $80,000 grant to the West Australian Football Commission.

Children watching WAFL game
Supporters of all ages showed up to the event. (ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

The Northampton AFL Rams is a fundraising group involving the town’s AFL players, including organiser Andrew Lockyer who said the group continually showed support for Northampton.

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

He said fundraising was only one reason for hosting the game.

“It’s more about the engagement of the community, take their mind off what’s lying ahead of them with the recovery and rebuild,” he said.

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

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Former footballer Andrew Lockyer said he didn’t initially know whether a WAFL game was possible but that it ‘all fell into place’.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

West Coast Eagles star Josh Kennedy supported the event and said sport brought country towns together.

“Knowing that the town was able to support me and a lot of us through that journey of youth into getting into the AFL system, many of us are more than happy to give back to a town that’s given us so much.”

Boost for recovering town

Northampton Shire president Liz Sudlow said the support shown by Northampton’s AFL prodigies during the Seroja recovery was ‘almost overwhelming’.

“The support they have shown to the town and the community as we navigate our way out of the cyclone recovery has been amazing,” she said.

Young footy fans at WAFL game
Some young footballers also got to take part in the half-time game(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Bridget Herrmann)

Ms Sudlow said some of the funds would go towards buying a power generator for the town’s aged care facility and some towards Kalbarri.

“There’s lots of accommodation that’s still unusable, and lots of the businesspeople there are doing it quite tough,” she said.

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