East Fremantle plan to play WAFL home game at Northampton oval in first half of next season

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Harry Taylor playing for East Fremantle in July.
Camera IconHarry Taylor playing for East Fremantle in July. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian, Daniel Wilkins

Northampton’s footy oval could echo with the sounds of a WAFL crowd next season as East Fremantle plan to bring a home game to the Mid West town.

Sharks president Mark Stewart said the club were planning a game in the first half of next season to support the community as it rebuilt after cyclone Seroja, and described football as a way of building communities.

“We’re looking to try and support the Northampton community,” Stewart said. “Sport is a connector within communities, and that’s not only when things are going well, but also when things are difficult.”

He said he had been to Northampton twice since the cyclone and praised the resilience of the town.

“What you are seeing is adversity and people coming together,” he said. “As difficult as it is, I believe people can come back stronger.”

Stewart said only one home game in the Mid West was planned so far. “We’d love to play another game if funding was available,” he said. “I think it shows how seriously we take country footy.” He said the planned redevelopment of East Fremantle Oval, which should transform the Sharks’ home ground into a sports precinct, was “exciting” for the club.

The planned home game would be another move by the footy community to support a town that has produced many of its stars.

Northampton was one of the hardest-hit areas by Seroja and rebuilding efforts are ongoing.

West Coast Eagles premiership winner and hometown hero Josh Kennedy was in Northampton for a fundraiser this year along with other “AFL Rams” including Harry Taylor and former West Coast defender Andrew Lockyer.

Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps and his younger brother Josh, an emerging WAFL star with East Fremantle, are both from Northampton as is their cousin, West Coast forward Jamie Cripps.

Daniel Chick, Tarkyn Lockyer, Liam Anthony and Paul Hasleby are also products of the Rams system. East Freo ruckman Brynn Teakle, who has played nine games for the Sharks this season, is another player who has come through the Rams’ setup. He turned out for his hometown club in their GNFL preliminary final loss against Railways earlier this month.

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