Ex-AFL stars in charity clash

Daneka HillNorth West Telegraph
Former AFL player Jason Akermanis, Corey McKerenan, Peter "Spida" Everitt and Richard Champion with young Newman footy players.
Camera IconFormer AFL player Jason Akermanis, Corey McKerenan, Peter "Spida" Everitt and Richard Champion with young Newman footy players. Credit: Kevin Mitchel

Four AFL legends laced up the boots and took to the field once more in the Pilbara recently for the 2019 Celebrity Legends Game.

Organised by the Newman Vets Football Club in the East Pilbara town, the charity match was the region’s answer to the EJ Whitten matches, with all money raised donated back to the local community.

The four visitors were triple premiership Brisbane Lions player Jason Akermanis, North Melbourne and Carlton star ruckman Corey McKernan, St Kilda ruck great Peter Everitt and Brisbane fan favourite Richard Champion who’s played in Newman’s most star-studded footy game before.

Newman Vets club president Nathan Kemp said Akermanis and Everitt played for the Snakes while McKernan and Champion joined the Eagles.

“The teams were made up from a number of different masters players and sponsors,” Mr Kemp said.

Past celebrity players have included Wayne Carey, Anthony Koutoufides, Stephanie Cain, Scott Cummings and Ernie Dingo.

The light-hearted event was followed by an auction of goods and memorabilia.

In previous years the match was known to draw the whole town to the Capricorn Oval but numbers were down this year.

Mr Kemp said over the past decade the charity matches had raised about $200,000 for the Newman community and the EJ Whitten Foundation.

“Last year alone we raised $22,000,” Mr Kemp said.

“This year there was probably a little less than last year, we probably had under 500 people at the match.”

This year’s total had not been fully counted yet and Mr Kemp wanted to avoid naming recipients until donations were finalised.

Recipients of funds in the past include the local women’s shelter, junior motocross, Newman playground, school P&C groups and the VSwans.

Another benefactor from the event was the Lions Club of Newman whose food van raised about $2,200 at the event.

The money will go towards their upcoming men’s shed.

The annual charity match is hosted in conjunction with BHP and Swan Districts Football Club.

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