Barunga Village leads local football club’s premiership

Andrew Charlton and Aaron Wanders were announced as the SANFL – NAFC Senior Country Coaches of the Year

With five minutes to go in the A Grade 2016 Grand Final for the Northern Areas Football Association the Port Broughton-Mundoora Football Club was 17 points down.

In the next 300 seconds of footy – the team, coached by Barunga Village’s Education and Safety Coordinator, Andrew Charlton – kicked three goals to take home the premiership cup by one point.

Chris Elliot – son of Carol Elliot, a registered nurse at Barunga Villlage – kicked two of the winning goals.

Humble in his response, Andrew said there was nothing he could have done to help his team get over the line in the dying minutes.

“I just hoped that the determination that co-coach Aaron Wanders and myself had installed in them would get us over the line,” he said.

“I had faith that they could always pull something out, but there was nothing I could do – it was all up to the players.”

The team Port Broughton-Mundoora defeated was Crystal Brook, a side that had only lost one game in the last three seasons.

The successful season didn’t end on grand final day. On Friday, October 28, Andrew and Aaron were announced as the SANFL – NAFC Senior Country Coaches of the Year.

Andrew, who played in the last premiership the Port Broughton-Mundoora Football Club won in 2006, said it was an honour to receive the award.

“You don’t coach for the awards – you coach to win and for the players,” he said.

“But it was nice to be recognised because at a country level you put in a lot of energy and hours at the club and that does mean being away from your family.”

Andrew said that his coaching skills come to use while working at Barunga Village.

“There are definitely skills that go hand-in-hand with coaching and working at Barunga, such as communication, teamwork, negotiating and aiming for a common goal.”