The inspiration driving Australia’s young indigenous footballers

  • Former player John Moriarty aiding football in Australia’s Aboriginal communities
  • Moriarty a passionate advocate for the indigenous community
  • Young player from a remote community recently made national league debut

In Australia’s dusty Northern Territory outback lies the small town of Borroloola.

To say Borroloola is remote would be an understatement of immense proportions. To reach the nearest city, Darwin, involves a full day’s drive and then some. Reaching the nearest major supermarket involves a jaw-dropping 600 kilometre drive along a dusty dirt road, where a check for crocodiles before passing through any waterways is advisable.

And yet football is thriving in Borroloola, despite Australian Rules football traditionally holding sway in Australia’s remote north. And it is all thanks to one man.

Spreading the gospel of the world game in Borroloola and, indeed throughout all of Australia’s indigenous population is John Moriarty. Energetic, articulate and with an understated but strong-willed determination to succeed, octogenarian Moriarty has a life-force that can match those half his age.

Driven by wanting to see more Aboriginal Australians playing football, and the notion that active interest in sport can change lives, the Borroloola-born Moriarty decided to take action. In 2012, the John Moriarty Foundation (JMF) was established with those twin ideals at its centrepiece.

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