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2018 Aboriginal Power Cup underway at EP Nazar Reserve

PORT ADELAIDE’s eleventh annual Aboriginal Power Cup carnival is underway with a record number of students and schools involved in the three-day event.

The increased size of the event means it has been taken away from Alberton Oval for the first time and is instead being held at EP Nazar reserve at Ethelton.

450 students from 70 schools are involved with the participants having to have met strict guidelines regarding a minimum 80% school attendance and targets regarding both academic and behavioural components of the program.

With a competitive football carnival as its centerpiece, the Aboriginal Power Cup focuses on engaging young people in Aboriginal culture and identity, education, promoting healthy lifestyle choices and developing teamwork, leadership and life skills.

Students form nine-a-side football teams in their schools and work together to complete a number of tasks which go towards giving them credits in their South Australian Certificate of Education.

With all the work in the classroom now done, it was a chance for the students to put on the guernseys they had designed and take to the football field.

“At the end of the day young people love football and you can see all the smiles today,” said Port Adelaide Director of Aboriginal Programs Paul Vandenbergh.

“We decided this year to take it away from Alberton Oval and bring it to another heartland oval at Ethelton.

“We’ve got 24 boys and girls teams from 70 schools and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.

“I think the schools are really on board with it and they use the carnival as that carrot to make sure the students come to school, have that 80% attendance, have good behaviour, and show some leadership so it’s great for schools to be able to use and students now know that these are the KPIs and it’s all sticking now and people are all used to what our expectations are.”

Mr Vandenbergh said he loved seeing the various guernsey designs, which students had taken a lot of pride with, and seeing them meet new people through football.

The top teams in the carnival will play off on Friday night at Adelaide Oval as a curtain-raiser to Port Adelaide’s AFL clash against Richmond.

Participants will again feature in a special cultural performance as part of the Welcome to Country in the lead up to the first bounce.

“On the third day we shift our focus and mindset to Indigenous culture and to being a part of the Port Adelaide Football Club’s indigenous round,” said Vandenbergh.

“The students will be involved in the Welcome to Country and provide a cultural performance on the ground, which keeps getting bigger and bigger.

“We have 450 people to just talk about and demonstrate our culture and how beautiful it is, it brings a lot of pride to our young people.”

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