In a week filled with learning, camaraderie and impressive performances, two young football talents from the Kimberley made their mark as members of the inaugural Eddie Betts Foundation Football Academy. This ground-breaking initiative by the Eddie Betts Foundation aims to provide support and opportunities for young Indigenous talents while fostering generational change. Shaq Cox, 16, from the Waringarri Crows and Bruce Gore from the Port Wyndham Crocs spent the week alongside Indigenous talents from across the country, immersing themselves in the intricacies of the game. Among them Cox stood out, earning best on ground in a thrilling match against the Yarra Junior Football League. The week-long program, launched publicly in May, witnessed the participation of 25 talented Australian rules footballers from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria. The participants not only had the chance to meet their heroes at Carlton and Collingwood but also engaged in a NBL training session with the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Life skills took centre stage as well, with participants taking part in cooking classes in a gourmet MCG kitchen, emphasising the importance of healthy eating habits. Speaking to Sky News, Eddie Betts, the former Carlton and Adelaide star, said the program wasn’t just about football but giving the youngsters a better opportunity for education. “It’s been super just to watch these boys come together, they become like family but it was more so bringing them down to give them a taste of what Melbourne life is like,” he said. “My goal is to try and get them down here for school, I don’t want to take them out of communities. “But if they want to come back and go to school here, they want to play sport here – because I believe the best place for education and sport is here in Victoria and I want to change these kids’ lives.” The impact of the Eddie Betts Foundation Football Academy extends beyond the game, offering a unique blend of sporting experiences, mentorship and life skills to create a lasting positive influence on the lives of Indigenous youth.