Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 6 May 2014

Details:

Title

The Northern Territory news Tue 6 May 2014

Other title

NT news

Collection

The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT

Date

2014-05-06

Description

This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.

Language

English

Subject

Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

Publisher name

News Corp Australia

Place of publication

Darwin

File type

application/pdf

Use

Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

Copyright owner

News Corp Australia

License

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C1968A00063

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/250658

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/554033

Page content

TUESDAY MAY 6 2014 SPORT 35 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA 52 AFL SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 HERALDSUN.COM.AU MHSE01Z01MA - V1 WHEN MathewStokes walksinto SimondsStadium, hefeels a sense of responsibility that stretches far beyond the playing arena. A dual premiership player and early contender for All-Australian for the second year running, Stokes, 29, has become a dazzling link in the mighty Geelong midfield. But when he considers his legacy at a club that has twice shown considerable faith in him drafting him as a mature-age player and sticking by him after a 2010 drug arrest his most significant contribution at Geelong may be off the field. When the comfort of the couch calls after another intense days training, Stokes spends his spare time working in the community division of the Cattery, organising healthy living workshops for indigenous youth. It is voluntary work that gives Stokes enormous satisfaction teaching kids how to cook healthy meals and reinforcing the benefits of schooling and the dangers of drugs and binge drinking. When he was drafted to Geelong with pick No.61 in 2005, Stokes says he was the only Aboriginal player at the club and there were no programs and no talk of doing any programs or projects like this. Over the past three years, all seven of Geelongs indigenous players have become ambassadors for the Deadly Choices campaign, ensuring that when Stokes playing career eventually winds up, the clubs passion about and care for Aboriginal people will live on. When you get a little bit older you mature and you start to see that you can have a positive impact if you really want to, Stokes said. I go back home to Darwin and I hear of all the stories of kids not going to school and giving up on their footy and the stuff that goes on in the community and it is quite sad. I have aunties working in aid up there and go to the communities and its quite upsetting hearing their stories. I have always taken an interest in it and listened to it ... but I never really had the drive (to do something about it). But the older I have got, the more passionate I have become. So, when it comes to the programs at our club, its about making sure everything is set up so that once Ive moved on from the footy club, it really does care about Aboriginal players and their welfare and the issues that they face. Grateful for the clubs unwavering support, Stokes said he felt an even greater sense of pride in Geelong when he saw the Cats indigenous jumper to be worn in the Round 11 clash against Sydney at the SCG on May 29. The design was put forward by B.J. OToole, a teenage artist in Geelong who Stokes met while watching indigenous youths play basketball as part of his weekly involvement at the North Geelong co-op. He asked me what I thought and I jumped at the (guernsey) idea and said it goes perfectly with the Closing the Gap Round 11 (helping raise the health and life expectancy of Aboriginals), Stokes said. Im really proud to see him design the jumper, but also its a really proud moment for the club, too. Its pretty satisfying to see how far it has come and in some little way to say Ive been able to help in that transformation. Stokes on and off-field passions combined magnificently last year when the 161-gamer won Geelongs Community Champion award for the second time, on top of his career-best fourth placing in the Carji Greeves Medal. Geelong chief executive Brian Cook says Stokes has made a profound impact on the club during his nine seasons. There is no doubt Stokesy has made a difference at our footy club, Cook said. He is forever giving. He gives back to the indigenous community and tries to act as an example to his Aboriginal people and its been fantastic for us. Regarded as one of the AFLs most improved players last season, the small forward turned prime mover was deemed a genuine A-grader by years end, racking up 30-plus possessions in nine games. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon paid him the ultimate compliment in last seasons semi-final, when he sent master tagger Ryan Crowley to shut down the Cats pocket rocket, instead of Steve Johnson or Joel Selwood. Hellbent on making sure it just wasnt one season, Stokes has continued his stellar 2013 form this year, winning the seventh-most disposals in the competition over the first six rounds, at an average of 26 touches a game. I worked really hard in the preseason to get back in peak fitness and be able to go at it again, he said. His electric run and hardnosed attack on the ball has powered the Cats to a 5-1 record, which is where Stokes said he hoped they would be, heading into todays clash against an off-kilter Richmond at the MCG. I remember thinking at the start of the season that if we get to the bye being 6-1 or 5-2 and be happy with where I am at personally, then Id be a very happy man, he said. But football isnt everything for Stokes any more. For a man originally overlooked at three consecutive national drafts, life is a much broader picture than the daily grind of training and playing. Helping change the lives of indigenous people is his calling. When the hard-running Cat says goodbye to a club that has given me the confidence to speak my mind, Stokes will head home to Darwin and peer into some of the most remote areas of the Northern Territory. There, he wants to play an even greater hands-on role to help shine the light on the issues in the community and facing Aboriginal people. Its pretty bad compared to what some people might actually think, he says. Its one of those things where we constantly need to keep trying to help because it is a pretty sad state. Ive always planned that once footy finishes to move up there and try to make a difference. At a club that values its players off-field behaviour as importantly as their on-field actions, the precise ball carrier who also doubles as the jovial host of the hit Get Stoked video program on the Cats website is held in the highest regard. Not only for his personal turnaround, and his efforts to mentor youth, but also for his influence helping develop the Cats other indigenous players. When Deadly Choices approached Stokes and Geelong about joining forces, the popular Cat said it had to be an all-in affair. Thankfully, he says, the Cats other indigenous players jumped at it. You are doing it for the kids to help them, of course, but at the same time it does develop you as a person, he says. All of them (Geelong indigenous players) have grown in their own ways, but I think Ive seen a real maturity in Allen Christensen from the program. Mots (Steven Motlop) is a pretty carefree kind of character, but I think he now has an understanding that it (AFL) is a lot bigger than getting a kick on the weekend and doing well in footy. He has realised now that sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and being Aboriginal. Off-field there is a little bit more responsibility and onus to try to do something. I think all the boys have done that really well. Its been a success with the boys learning a lot quicker than I did the importance of being a good role model, and most definitely for Aboriginal people. The classy Cat is proving to be a team player just as much off the field as on When you get a little bit older you mature and you start to see that you can have a positive impact if you really want to the older I have got the more passionate I have become (about helping indigenous people). JAY CLARK BIG IMPROVER Mathew Stokes has become on e of the AFLs top ball-winners since moving into the midfield at the start of last s eason. GAME AVERAGES 2013-R6 2014 Rank at Geelong CHANGING TIMES Geelongs indigenous players. 2006: Mathew Stokes. 2014: Mathew Stokes, Travis Va rcoe, Allen Christensen, Steven Motlop, Brad Hartman, Joel Hamling, Zac Bates (rookie ). Disposals 26.9 2nd Uncont poss 17.4 1st Inside 50s 3.6 7th Score assists 1.5 3rd Score involve 7.1 4th SuperCoach Pts 98.5 4th Source: CHAMPION DATA HERALDSUN.COM.AU SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014 AFL 53 V1 - MHSE01Z01MA approached Stokes and Geelong about joining forces, the popular Cat said it had to be an all-in affair. Thankfully, he says, the Cats other indigenous players jumped at it. You are doing it for the kids to help them, of course, but at the same time it does develop you as a person, he says. All of them (Geelong indigenous players) have grown in their own ways, but I think Ive seen a real maturity in Allen Christensen from the program. Mots (Steven Motlop) is a pretty carefree kind of character, but I think he now has an understanding that it (AFL) is a lot bigger than getting a kick on the weekend and doing well in footy. He has realised now that sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and being Aboriginal. Off-field there is a little bit more responsibility and onus to try to do something. I think all the boys have done that really well. Its been a success with the boys learning a lot quicker than I did the importance of being a good role model, and most definitely for Aboriginal people. MATHEW Stokesthinks about his2010 drug arrestevery day.But the veteran Cat has learnt to use the anguish of that day in a Geelong jail cell as a driving force in his work with indigenous youth. Stokes was stood down by the club and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond after he bought a gram of cocaine for a friend. He avoided a criminal conviction after pleading guilty to possessing an illegal drug. Reflecting on the big impact it had on my life, Stokes said he was determined to win back the clubs trust and use the episode to help others avoid making the same mistake. I dont try to use it as a negative any more, he says. I try to reflect on the good that has come out of it and use it the other way around. Whether its right or wrong, its the way that I have approached it and Ive realised that people are willing to give you a second chance as long as you are willing to do the work to make it right. I feel like people were more forgiving because they could see that it hurt me and I was willing to make amends. Stokes says he uses the experience as a way to connect with some troubled youngsters and hopes his turnaround can help others find a way forward in difficult times. Its another way I can approach talking to Aboriginal kids you can make a mistake and you can bounce back, Stokes says. So its another angle for me to get along with these kids. I felt that talking to these kids who have had problems or have issues that they can relate to me a little bit because I have made a mistake and bounced back. So it has been a driving force, no doubt about it. Jail cell gives Mat a brighter outlook BIG IMPROVER Mathew Stokes has become on e of the AFLs top ball-winners since moving into the midfield at the start of last s eason. GAME AVERAGES 2013-R6 2014 Rank at Geelong CHANGING TIMES Geelongs indigenous players. 2006: Mathew Stokes. 2014: Mathew Stokes, Travis Va rcoe, Allen Christensen, Steven Motlop, Brad Hartman, Joel Hamling, Zac Bates (rookie ). Disposals 26.9 2nd Uncont poss 17.4 1st Inside 50s 3.6 7th Score assists 1.5 3rd Score involve 7.1 4th SuperCoach Pts 98.5 4th Source: CHAMPION DATA Mathew Stokes models the Cats indigenous jumper, designed by a local teenage artist, to be worn in Round 11; (below) Stokes fronts court. Main picture: MITCH BEAR


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