Wallsend West Newcastle ARFC – Inaugural Hunter Central Coast Pride Cup

Written by Steve Lewer (President Wallsend West Newcastle ARFC)


I couldn’t be prouder of my Club – What a fantastic and successful day the Pride Cup was at Bill Elliott Oval on Saturday August 17th, the club truly promoted equality, diversity and inclusiveness to our community. WELL DONE ALL!!!

Yes at long last the Wallsend West Newcastle and Wyong Lakes inaugural Pride Cup has been played, a first for Regional NSW, took place on Saturday 17 August at Bill Elliott Oval at Marland (in the western part of Newcastle LGA), and it turned out to be one of the big highlights of the season. Bill Elliott has never looked so colourful, with all the colours of the rainbow shining across the ground. The Pride Round is about celebrating diversity and inclusion in sport and the fight against discrimination and homophobia, and these values were clearly on display by both Clubs who strongly supported the Pride Cup initiative. Not only were both Clubs well represented by their supporters, there were many supporters of Newcastle Pride and AFL present on the day. In fact, in my time with the Club (close to 10 years) I can’t remember a day with more people – so thank you to all that supported the day.

The day was opened by Sonia Hornery, the local State Member for Wallsend and a great supporter of the Wallsend Swans; and at the strike of 12pm the women kicked off. And it was on – straight from the start and despite being a number of places below Wyong on the ladder, our Swans were here to play and to play hard footy. They took it right up to the Magpies in the first part of the match and really persisted. However, the Magpies skills and experience did shine through and they roared ahead to a 60 point plus break at the end of the first half. However, our ladies summoned up some strength during the mid-break and powered through the third quarter winning it two goals to one, with Nicola and Abbey both scoring majors. In the end the Magpies took home the inaugural trophy, but our ladies put on a valiant display, particularly in the second half where they completely slowed down Wyong’s game and almost won the half.

Well done ladies for a great, entertaining game. Best on ground were: Abbey Main, Kate Booth, Amy Pittman, Ashlea Finn, Meghan Sawkins and Prue McDonald.

At the break between the matches, the Newcastle University Cheerleaders put on a display, showing the crowd what to expect in their upcoming National championship in Melbourne. Then at 2pm the men teams started their clash. From the start our lads were here to play country footy and take home that inaugural trophy. The Swans led at every break during the game, despite a strong third quarter by Wyong Magpies. However, the Swans eight goal haul in the first half set our team up for the inaugural win. In the end the Swans kicked 11 goals to Wyong’s 5, and they could have had more given another 19 wayward shots at goal that only returned a minor score. For me, this was the Swans best game and hardest played in 2019, in all a great game of footy.

Best on field were: Jackson Tidsell, Mark Lim, Kaeden Hudson, Murray Younger, Hayden Spark and Aiden Bartley.

All in all a great success for both Clubs, with a trophy a piece, and the message of diversity in sport well and truly promoted to our community. However the day would not have gone ahead without a few thankyous, so Wallsend West Newcastle would like to thank the following:

  1. Our sponsors for the day: The Family Hotel, Newcastle Pride, Highlite Fitness and Central Coast Pride; and especially Ivan Skaines from Newcastle Pride who was pivotal in getting the day up, and Kara Montoneri  from Pride Cup who helped promote the event nationally;
  2. The Wallsend Swans Pride Committee – Darren Bird, Kate Booth, Micheal Livesey and especially Indigo Ryan who helped non-stop and at times single handily chased things up (in fact the day wouldn’t have happened without her)
  3. Allison and Grace Hamilton, and Kean Jeffs for their efforts in the canteen, undertaking raffles and selling merchandise etc
  4. Sarah Parker (and her cohort of university pals) for doing a fantastic job with the Pride video, liaising with the local print and radio media, and doing the photos on the day (along with our junior mum’s Tara Hawley and Carmen Trotter)
  5. All our women and men players / supporters / officials for promoting the day (incl. the big effort at the Wallsend Fair)
  6. Ashlea Finn for first suggesting the day, designing the unique Pride jerseys and sowing the seed to a great event – your vision shone thru
  7. Sonia Hornery (State Member for Wallsend) for officially opening the day; and Cr. Emma White for her support on the day
  8. The AFL NSW / ACT and AFL HCC staff at Morrissett for their support; the Sydney Swans for donating merchandise (and Isaac Heeney personal video about the event)
  9. Finally, the Wyong Lakes AFC and their Resident Simon Wood for supporting the day, coming along on the journey and taking the mantle for 2020. And thankyou to our Auskickers (along with Wyong, Lake Mac and a few ring-ins) who played at the mid break – great display of footy by all.

Hopefully I have not missed anyone, if I have, I apologise and thanks for the help.

And don’t forget to support next year’s event which will be running at Don Small Oval with the Magpies hosting.