Aboriginal Affairs minister says Dharawal Cup’s a real beauty

Photo of author

The NSW minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Ben Franklin, summed it best at Saturday’s Dharawal Cup festival of football.

In a short speech, Mr Franklin, who also took part in a flag raising ceremony, lauded the concept created by the Camden Tigers Indigenous Football Program (IFP) of an annual event to celebrate reconciliation and soccer at the same time.

Indeed he gave it the biggest compliment possible.

“Every club should have one of these programs, it’s that good it should be adopted by everyone,’’ Mr Franklin said to enthusiastic applause.

This was the second time the Dharawal Cup was held, and it was obvious that it was bigger and better than the inaugural event 12 months earlier, including drawing a larger crowd.

But the day was also a little emotional, because missing from that first iteration was the master of ceremonies, Terry Diomis, who passed away last Sunday.

As a mark of respect, the players wore black armbands, while the tribute to the Camden legend was made by Campbelltown lawyer Patrick Duffy, pictured above, who played soccer with Terry when they were in the under 12s competitions.

“He is massive loss; Terry was such an important member of our community,’’ Mr Duffy said before calling on everyone present to pay their respects by observing a minute’s silence.

Star guest Craig Foster, who captained the Indigenous Invitation side, joined in the minute’s silence, along with Campbelltown mayor George Greiss, Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves and Councillor Warren Morrison.

A welcome to country from Aunty Joyce Mate and a smoking ceremony from Uncle Ivan Wellington (pictured above) preceded the start of the main game, the Dharawal Cup, between an Indigenous Invitation side and the Camden Tigers first grade.

Also, the national anthem was beautifully sung in Dharawal and English by young singer Monique Ray.

Ms Ray also sang the anthem at the inaugural event in January 2022.

As for the game itself, for the record, it finished as a 3-3-3 draw after the Indigenous side equalised with three minutes left on the clock.

Considering it was free entry to the ground at Ron Dine Memorial Reserve, the high quality football match over 90 minutes proved the adage that some times the best things in life are free.

Bring on Dharawal Cup III in January 2024.

Mayor George Greiss presents the players with their medals after the match.

Leave a Comment