One of the most picturesque ovals in Australia will host its first match on Saturday when the Mutitjulu Cats play their opening home match at the base of Uluru.
Set to tackle the Central Swans from 1.30pm, the Cats will be desperate to chalk up a win on home soil in Round 5 of the Far North West Sports League.
With the competition newcomers currently sitting in third place with a 2-1 win-loss record, the entire Mutitjulu community has been relishing their involvement in the FNWSL with the Cats also fielding a Softball team.
While the Softball team was unable to register a win in its first encounter, it’s fair to say the on-field results pale in comparison to the off-field benefits of being involved in the FNWSL.
Now in its 12th year of being administered by SANFL, the FNWSL is arguably the most diverse football competition in the land, with teams having to travel as far as 400km across the APY Lands each weekend.
Indulkana, Mimili, Wintjalangu, Pukatja, Fregon, Amata, Murputja and Pipalyatjara are among the APY Lands communities involved in the FNWSL, which has played a strong role in giving each locality a sense of purpose and the chance to bond as a team.
SANFL Indigenous Programs Manager Shawn Ford said the excitement ahead of the first game being played north of Alice Springs was reaching fever pitch.
”This is the most iconic home ground in the country with Uluru as the back drop and it has created huge excitement amongst all communities,” Ford said.
”Voyages, Ayers Rock Resort and the Mutitjulu Foundation were instrumental in supporting Mutitjulu’s bid to join the competition and have shown outstanding commitment.”
Ford said the FNWSL wouldn’t be possible if SANFL didn’t receive outstanding support from several different sources.
”The Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation has been fantastic with its assistance in preparing venues and providing communities with financial support in regard to the fuel costs associated with traveling such long distances,” Ford said.
”Greg, Michelle and the team at the Pukatja Roadhouse are ongoing supporters of the FNWSL competition and go above and beyond to service the community.
”And of course, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet are our major funding partner and quite simply, without them, this competition wouldn’t be possible.”
CHIEF SANFL WRITER