When the Dhubu Dinawans FC head to Brisbane for this year’s Australian Indigenous Football Championships, they won’t be able to claim underdog status.
That’s despite the fact the side – full of Dubbo and District Football Association players – will be coming up against the likes of former Socceroo Jade North, A League star James Brown and Australian futsal representatives.
The reason; in the tournament’s two year history, Dhubu Dinawan have made it to the semi final stage both times.
They’re already punching well above their weight, and stalwart Scott Fox said they’re determined to go even further in 2018.
“It’s a step up for sure – or a few steps up I should say,” he said.
“We’re turned a few heads already … Being knocked out in the semis, it has just made us hungrier to do better.
“We’re running out of space to have the underdog status – Dubbo is getting a good name for producing A League and National Premier League players.”
Wellington Phoenix defender and Dubbo product Jacob Tratt made a cameo for the side in 2017, while this year former Dubbo FC Bull Jonty Busch – who now plays with Newcastle club Broadmeadow Magic – will feature.
Each team is allowed to include two non-Indigenous players each year, while the Indigenous players have connections across western NSW including the Wiradjuri, Wayilwan, Kamilaroi and Ngemba nations.
High-profile stars like Jade North, SBS presenter Craig Foster and Matilda Kyah Simon are involved with the tournament, which is also affiliated with The Johnny Warren Football Foundation, Brisbane Roar FC, Football Federation Australia and NITV.
Fox said the exposure to high-profile stars and organisations, and the chance to give young players a platform, was the catalyst to Dhubu Dinawans FC forming in 2016.
And they’ve already had success.
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Following the 2017 National Indigenous Football Championships, Kaiden Powell and Nikea Goodwin were named in the Australian First Nations men’s and women’s sides to take on New Zealand Maori.
“Whilst it is an Indigenous tournament, our focus is giving our young players that exposure,” Fox said.
“It’s putting, not only Aboriginal players, but country football on the map.
“There are players in Dubbo who can take the next step.”
Dhubu Dinawans FC will compete in the AIFC from November 8, while the women’s team will compete at the NIFC from October 31.
For more information about Dhubu Dinawans FC, including sponsorship, contact Brad Flick on 0409 008 394 or Jody Blyton on 0488 643 576.