Kleenheat is committed to supporting communities in which it operates, especially in regional WA where it services communities and businesses with LPG products and services. This year, Kleenheat partnered with the North Pilbara Football League (NPFL) as a sponsor for the 2019 season.
Earlier in the season, the Kleanheat team flew to Karratha to attend the ‘Kleenheat Round’ and watch the competition between the Karratha Kats and the Dampier Sharks.
The football season wrapped up in regional WA with the NPFL’s Grand Final played on 7 September 2019. Much of the community celebrated the win of the 2019 Premiers, the Wickham Wolves!
Established over 40 years ago, the NPFL consists of six clubs across the Pilbara. The Dampier Sharks, Karratha Kats, Karratha Falcons, Wickham Wolves, Port Hedland Rovers and South Hedland Swans.
Each club has around 100 players aged between 15 and 45 who play in either league or reserve teams. There are also committee members, umpires, volunteers, and the local community of supporters.
The Kleenheat Round
As part of its partnership, Kleenheat arranged for a jumping castle to keep the kids extra-entertained, a gold coin donation, sausage sizzle and a raffle to win a BBQ pack. The community helped raise over $700 from the sausage sizzle, which was donated to the Karratha Women’s Refuge.
The Kleenheat team took the opportunity to chat with some of the locals to discuss the importance of sport in regional WA, not only for physical health, but for inclusiveness within the community and for mental health.
They met with Greg Braithwaite, President of the NPFL, Russell Turner, President of the Dampier Sharks Football Club, Steven Dodd, Senior Coach of the Dampier Sharks and Lewis Upton who plays for the Dampier Sharks.
Braithwaite says if you move to or live in a country town you have to get involved and football is one way to do it.
Not only does it give kids of all ages, and adults, something to do that’s healthy for your mind and body; it also encourages locals to become part of a team, get along with each other, and enjoy each -others’ company in a healthy environment.
“Footy is a lifeblood of the community, it gets the town going on Fridays and Saturdays especially during game time. You can come along and watch mums and dads play and the kids enjoy themselves. It gives people something healthy to be a part of,” Braithwaite said.
With a culturally diverse population across the Pilbara, the consensus from Braithwaite, Upton, Turner and Dodd is that sport in regional WA is vital, to creating that sense of community and inclusiveness.
"Sport is a great part of family life, it builds family. You’re together, can play any sport together and it builds your family as a result,” he said.
Braithwaite is proud to say that local talent has been nurtured and because of the support from the community to have football, the Pilbara has seen some star talent emerge.
Two players in particular Zac Langdon and Dean Cox - both from the Dampier Sharks, have gone on to play in the AFL, for Greater Western Sydney Giants and the West Coast Eagles, respectively.
Lewis Upton, a gifted footballer, who plays for the Dampier Sharks Football Club, has been playing since he was a six year old and thinks of the Club and those involved as his second home and family.
“It’s good to be involved in a sporting club,” he says, “it helps out in work; helps with team work and working with people of all backgrounds,” Upton said
Community mental health and FIFO workers
Russell Turner, President of the Dampier Sharks believes football offers the players, in particular, the chance to chat about not only the game, but also home, work and life in general, with each other.
“You can get a feel about how the guys are travelling. A lot of them are aware of mental health issues and have seen players suffering from mental health and they know the importance of and benefit of having sport in the community,” Turner said.
This awareness extends to the fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) community. Joining the local football team, allows FIFO workers a break from the long shifts they do and the opportunity to get involved.
“Football gives them the opportunity to build relationships with locals, and gives them a breather from those they work with and from work too,” he said.
The importance of sponsors
Without sponsors Braithwaite, Turner, Dodd and Upton all agreed that there would be no football. Before the season starts, the League alone, needs $20, 000 just to cover insurances.
“Sponsors are a massive contributor to sport in regional clubs. There’s a lot of extra things that go unseen, in addition to the actual game being played. Sponsors help all the components of the game and the League come together. Without sponsors, we can’t run smoothly,” Dodd said.