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Indigenous stars head to Ballarat

North Shore’s Mikali Harrison. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

A CONTINGENT of Geelong’s indigenous footballers will head to Ballarat tomorrow for the annual Statewide Koori Carnvial.

Djilang (the indigenous name for Geelong) and the West Vic Eels will both feature local stars, with Leopold star Jye Walker heading up Djilang, which also includes North Shore young gun Mikali Harrison.

Bell Park-bound former Belmont Lion Lachie Edwards has entered a team under the Eels banner, a foundation member of the carnival since it began more than a 25 years ago.

This year’s carnival has the motto ‘Yannanayowoit Dullallally’ (‘Always Proud’) and will bring together more than 3000 participants in both football and netball from across Victoria.

“We are very excited to have a lot of new faces on board to get them in touch with community and inspire healthy, active lifestyles, as well as promoting the importance of family, community and networking, and responsibilities around drugs and alcohol,” Walker said.

Djilang will compete in Division 2, but Walker is confident of his team winning their back into Division 1.

“And hopefully generate a bit of excitement back in Geelong to get a few premium guys to play from the GFL, like Dan Measures (St Joseph’s), Ethan Liddle (Geelong West) and Tony Armstrong (Lara), which would be a buzz,” he said.

Walker said the support of the Waddawurrung Aboriginal Corporation, Deakin University and the Geelong Football Club was crucial to Djilang’s participation, while Great Ocean Road Chocalaterie, Woolworths and Narana Cultural Centre have provided donations of vouchers and goods.

Twitter: @tom_king79