On the 17th of August, Royden Elliot, Cassius Hayes and Olivia Hurst, 3 youth leaders from Onslow were eagerly waiting to board a plane to Perth. Everyone said their goodbyes to family and it was boarding time. The plane ride was a short trip and before we knew it, we had touched down in Perth. We checked into our apartment in the city, dropped off our bags and hit the town for a much-needed dinner. Our first meal entailed ribs, burgers and the infamous milkshakes which unbeknown to us was going to be a trend at every breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shortly after dinner we headed back to the apartment, play a few games of cards and then hit the hay ready for a huge couple of days.
Saturday morning was an early start, up at 7:00am to get everyone showered and dressed ready to walk out the door to go and get some breakfast. All the kids wanted for breakfast was McDonalds so of course, McDonalds it was. After downing a few Bacon and Egg McMuffins and a few Hash browns, we headed to Murray Street Mall to let the Pilbara kids immerse themselves in some shopping for a few hours. It was most definitely a shop til’ you drop experience as the kids had shopped up a storm. We quickly dropped back the bags of goodies to the room and headed to the Perth Train Station were we hopped on a train that was bound for Cockburn Station where we would disembark and walk to the Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre (ARC).
This part of the trip was a surprise for the kids and they had no idea what was happening. Once we got to the ARC, we were met by Kara Donnellan and Ebony Antonio, Fremantle AFLW Club Captain and Fremantle AFLW Club Champion respectively. They took us on a full tour of the Fremantle AFL men’s and women’s facilities, showing us the pools, spas, gyms, offices, team shop and even the sleeping room where players can sleep if they are tired. After being escorted around the Fremantle rooms, Kara and Ebony spoke to the kids about their own personal journey, what it took to manage full-time work and being a professional athlete, including all things leadership, work ethic and commitment to all aspects of life. After a few questions, it was time to head back to the train and back into the city for the kids to have another look around and check out Hay Street Mall.
Once the shops had all closed, we headed back to the apartment to relax, have a freshen up and play some cards before the evening activity started. Again this was a surprise we had kept from the kids and guesses as to what the activity was , were coming in thick and fast. Once everyone was ready, we went down stairs and walked down Murray St to find somewhere to eat. The word getting around was that Cassius favourite food was Chilli Mussels and Roydens favourite food was a parmigiana so an Italian restaurant was the one stop shop for dinner. We all out a beautiful dinner and got into an Uber, on route to the Old Girls School pop up cinema. The kids ordered a popcorn and a drink and we sat down to watch Skyscraper on beautiful bean bags with blankets. What a night to remember. By the time the movie had finished it was getting late, so we got back in an Uber and headed back to our apartment. A few games of cards and then Lights out ready for a huge day Sunday.
Again we got up early on Sunday morning played some cards and got ready to head into the city for some breakfast. We stopped at the coffee club for breakfast this morning where the kids ordered meals consisting of eggs, bacon and milkshakes. We had a lovely breakfast and the shops were just starting to open so the kids had 30 minutes to go and have a look around and purchase anything they may want to take back to Onslow with them as this would be the last opportunity they would get to do any shopping. The second part of the day had been organised so the kids would get to go into the West Coast Eagles rooms before the game and be only meters away from the Eagles players as they warmed up and then they would be in great seats for the game and then get to go into the change rooms after to meet Willie Rioli and a few other players. But this was all a surprise to the kids.
Once everyone had returned to our designated meeting place, we quickly dashed back to drop off the bag loads of shopping that had been done and headed back to the Perth train station to head to the new Optus Stadium. We jumped on to the train where we met Drew Petrie, 300 Game AFL superstar, who would be our guide for the first part of the day. We met up with Kim Hannah who is a very experienced Eagles recruiting scout and also co-ordinates the Naitanui Academy and as a group we headed into the stadium and down into the rooms where we watched the West Coast Eagles do their full pre-game warm up! What an experience this was for the kids. The kids were very grateful and thanked Drew, Kim and the West Coast Eagles very much.
We headed to our seats to watch an absolutely thrilling game and the kids thorou