Port Adelaide Football Club will extend their educational engagement initiative into South Australia’s remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands for the first time this year.

Since 2008 the club has run its Aboriginal Power Cup in metro and regional communities throughout the state, encouraging positive lifestyle choices and celebrating their Indigenous culture and identity with First Nations secondary school students through a series of curated programs.

The expansion comes after a $50,000 community grant from BankSA.

Port Adelaide Aboriginal programs manager Braedon Talbot said strengthening year 12 attainment and creating positive pathways for career and lifestyle was the main objective, using Football as the vehicle.

“The big picture for us is for our young people to become leaders in the community and be able to transition into employment, or further education post year 12,” he said.

Students at Aboriginal Power Cup. image provided

Mr Talbot said the positive outcomes of cultural identity played a role alongside academic aspects.

“Culture is a lifelong journey of them to attain all the knowledge, but if we can start to get that fire in their belly burning about really to understand their culture better,” he said.

“That’s our main goal.”

There is a competitive element to the cup, culminating in a football carnival where participating schools add to their points tally built on attendance rates, behaviour, engagement in studies among other school based criteria.

Results or standardised tests do not factor into their score.

The most recent carnival saw the girls’ finals played as curtain raisers to the Power’s round 11 match against Essendon at Adelaide Oval last Sunday.

The success of the program has spurred Port into stretching further out into APY Lands, with the program utilising online learning platforms to generate student interest.

“We just thought, what a great initiative,” Mr Talbot said.

“They’ve probably been struggling the last few years to get the senior students engaged in schooling.

“We’re going to either get them to Alice Springs or to Adelaide later on to have a small footy carnival showing them some career pathways and some health lessons.”

Recent Port Adelaide AFLW recruit and Yindjibarndi woman Gemma Houghton will work alongside the clubs community team and lead the project.

Aboriginal Power Cup will has started the program in APY Lands with online sessions to commence in coming weeks.