Back To Online Media

Eagles soar in India

Posted on Thursday, June 11, 2015 by ARFAI,


Published: 2nd January, 2015


Ever wondered how it would feel to toss the ball to start the grand final? Or to present the cup to the winners?

Well, recently in India, I did both. And what a blast!

Forget the fact that these were under-16s teams and kids with only about six months’ of footy education; they were playing for keeps.

All very dedicated to their game, all pretty inexperienced and not many skills yet. But give it time, these will come.

All of the youngsters are from the slums of Jaipur, and as expected not many have the physical size we are used to. Some were about the size of some of our Auskick kids (and some had around the same level of skills), but despite desperately needed kicking skills, they play hard, tackle and chase ferociously.

It is absolutely inspiring to imagine what these kids could achieve with the kind of facilities and opportunities that are a rite of passage for Aussie kids.

About a month ago, we saw the inaugural competition in Jaipur (Rajasthan). Teams represented were Crows, Kangaroos, Saints, Giants, Hawks, Bombers, Tigers, Suns, Cats and, of course, my beloved Eagles.

Each game was only of 20 minutes duration, with each team playing every other until the top four was determined. The Eagles won both of their games easily, beating the Crows 23 points to nil, and the Suns 26-0.  Believe it or not, during the game against the Crows a large eagle lazily circled for the entire period.

In the semi-final, the Eagles went on to beat the Giants 17-2, and then the Kangaroos in the grand final, 48-6!  HUGE elation. And I am over the moon!

So the Eagles become the state team for Rajasthan.   They look very promising, despite being so new to the game. One thing that hit me like a truck was their No.3. This lad could have been Mainy reincarnated; same nuggetty build, same run, same never-let-a-chance-go-by style and the same where-will-it-go kick.

He pretty much level pegged with player No.2 as best-on-ground in all games.

Helen Mell is an avid West Coast Eagles fan and member, whose other passion in life is India. She takes great pride in taking Australian football to the sub-continent and was pivotal in helping to establish a relationship with the Rajasthan Eagles.