South Australia’s a pretty spectacular place to live and our hearts swell with pride whenever there’s an opportunity to show off parts of our patch.
In 2014, Ramsey Bros sales star and former Crows midfielder, Rob Shirley, saw the chance to inspire the local kids on the West Coast by connecting them to his former teammates, and grabbed it with both hands. Rob sent out a pigeon for a community training day with the local junior footy grades and the response was a resounding yes.
“We put the call out for players from each group of the Great Flinders and Marble Ranges country football leagues to join a training day in Cummins with Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson and Rhett Biglands.
“About half a dozen Great Flinders players also jumped in to assist with training. We had a turnout of about 140 kids (plus their families) so there was quite a buzz at the Cummins oval… it was fairly hectic but everyone was having a ball.”
The event was capped off with a barbecue and the chance for kids to get their favourite memorabilia signed by the Crows boys. Needless to say, there were lots of little faces beaming at the rare chance to have footy royalty on their local oval.
“The whole community got right behind it and welcomed the guys with open arms. The kids were just hanging off every word from the boys and you could feel their excitement. It was a pretty proud day for me and everyone seemed to really get something out of it.”
What started as an opportunity to encourage little local footy players, also allowed Rob to share his love of the coast. He roped his former teammates into some classic West Coast activities, including catching some waves, throwing out a fishing line and trying their hand at clay shooting.
“A couple of the guys had been here before but it was awesome to give them the tour and enjoy some of the things I love the most about the lifestyle over here.
“They lapped it up, but I have to say, it got a little hairy when we headed out on Ramsey Bros Director Hamish Ward’s boat to catch a few fish off Point Sir Issac’s.
“Always keen for a cheeky ribbing, Rhett casually pulled out a John Deere hat and popped it on his head… well, that lasted about thirty seconds before it was thrown overboard,” Rob laughs.
Not everyone’s fortunate enough to love where they work and live, but luckily for us South Aussies, we’re proud as punch.
Images kindly supplied by the Port Lincoln Times