By Michael Roberts | posted on July 3, 2020
THE smell of a sausage sizzle, the sound of a big bump, crowds yelling ‘ball’.
Grassroots footy made its long-awaited return to the Great Southern on Sunday with the next generation of sporting stars getting a pre-season run through in the inaugural Colts Super Round.
On a perfect day for football, players and coaches got to fine tune their skills in a round robin event ahead of this year’s Great Southern Football League (GSFL) Colts competition.
The day’s sporting action was about more than kicks and handballs, however.
Sponsored by headspace Albany, the Super Round raised awareness for the mental wellbeing of young men, with each player donning green headspace socks in recognition.
Headspace Albany Manager Andrew Wenzel said GSFL clubs had approached his organisation last year worried about the mental health of their young players.
“We thought we needed to do things a bit differently with young men and rather than expect young men to come to us, actually get out there and engage with them,” he said.
Mr Wenzel said being part of a community sport was important for your mental health.
“Playing footy is really good for dealing with stress,” he said.
“Team-based sports are fantastic for that.”
This was an afternoon to enjoy football at its purest. There was no trophy to fight over or best players awarded medals – games weren’t even scored.
Instead the best ‘team player’ from each club was handed a green headspace jumper at the end of the day.
Railways’ Toby Brown, North Albany’s Heath Spinks, Mt Barker’s Kyle Smith, Royals’ Tyreice Brown and Albany’s Jackson Cosh were all recognised for their performances.
GSFL Director Brett Turpin said it was purely about getting the kids running around and playing and interacting with each other.
“We are all out here having fun and that’s how it should be. We didn’t play for sheep stations,” he said.
Mr Turpin said the round robin event was a roaring success, with the GSFL aiming to make the Super Round a regular fixture each year.
“We would like to bring it under lights in March and get the 16s involved while the weather is still nice,” he said.
The 2020 GSFL Colts competition kicked off last night at Collingwood Park, with North Albany hosting Railways.
Mr Turpin said it remained unclear whether Denmark-Walpole would be able to field a colts team this year, with a limited number of players to pick from.
“Hopefully we can get more kids out of Denmark and get six sides, but if not some of the Denmark 16s players might be playing in the Colts side,” he said.
Considering where COVID-19 restrictions were a month ago, Mr Turpin said he was just pleased the 2020 season would go ahead.
“It’s a good thing for the community,” he said.