The 10th edition of the AFL Victoria Unity Cup on Sunday provided plenty of cause for celebration for all involved, but Werribee had extra reason to smile after notching up a third title in four years.
The Tigers fielded sides in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions at this year’s event, which brought together more than 200 competitors from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds across 20 teams, and the girls’ outfit arrived at Kensington’s JJ Holland Park looking to emulate its back-to-back heroics of 2014 and 2015.
But it was the Tiger boys who took home the silverware this year, overcoming a slow start in the round-robin phase to catch fire in the finals and ultimately prevail over a competitive FIDA outfit in the Division Two decider.
Mostly made up of players of South Sudanese descent, the Werribee girls’ side put up a strong showing to finish third in their division, which saw the Jew Crew overcome Kickstart in the final to win its second straight title.
Also representing Werribee on the day was VFL Multicultural Ambassador Brad Xavier, while 2016 Unity Cup Most Valuable Player Sabrin Nyawela swapped her Tigers’ guernsey for a clipboard to take on coaching duties for the girls’ team.
Werribee Community Development Manager Chris Gallagher praised the event as a great success in delivering on its goal of promoting unity through Australian Rules football.
“It’s a great way to bring kids from diverse backgrounds together to share each other’s stories and play a game that they had little knowledge of growing up,” said Gallagher.
“The event helps to create social cohesion within the community through football by giving the kids a common goal and a sense of belonging due to the team environment.”
2017 marked Werribee’s fifth year of involvement in the Unity Cup, and it was the only VFL team to field sides at this year’s event.
Gallagher said it was important for Werribee to maintain a presence at the Unity Cup given the social dynamic of the Wyndham region.
“With the club located in one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, and with a high number of newly arrived migrants and refugees in the area, events like the Unity Cup are a great way to bring communities together and educate them about our national game and the big part it plays in the community,” he said.