Liam Jurrah – Jaru Pirrjirdi Graduate
UPDATE – Congratulations to Liam for winning the AFL’s 2010 ‘Hungry Jacks’ Mark of the Year!
Liam Jurrah, NT Young Australian of the Year 2009! The fact that Liam was nominated for his work with Mt Theo in the Jaru Pirrjirdi Program, as well as his freakish football talents, would indicate he is more than just the latest Melbourne gun. He continues to serve the young people of Yuendumu community and deserves this recognition for the outstanding young man that he is.
Moreover, the Demons Club has adopted our community in a real and practical way. Trips back, most recently with Jimmy Stynes and Coach Dean Bailey, focus on school attendance and professional training clinics for up and coming players. The relationship with the community continues to grow under Liam’s guidance.
In July 2009, Liam’s debut jumper was auctioned online by Melbourne Football Club to raise money for cancer research. We thought longingly of how Liam’s jumper, displayed in the office, would inspire all Warlpiri young men and women. The debut jumper is perhaps the best representation of one enormous Jaru Pirrjirdi journey that took so much maturity and character – everybody here knows that Liam made it to the AFL because of the strong person that he is, just as much as the great footballer that he is. What happened next is the stuff of dreams – frantic phone calls and emails from Luke Scholes, on behalf of Demonland, an online support group. The group had agreed that the jumper belonged in Liam’s home town, and had decided to throw in $ to make sure it happened. Then Demonology, another online fan site came on board. After a super-human, nail-biting effort by ‘Demonlanders’, ‘Demonologists’ and Luke , official bidder, the jumper was ours! They raised an outstanding $4000 to bring the jumper home, and one member even framed the jumper for us. The fact that they could see the ongoing value of having this symbol of courage, skill and commitment displayed for Liam’s community and family to share, is itself a statement on the sensitivity and understanding of the Demon supporters. Such an outpouring of support by footy fans is remarkable. It sits proudly in our office for all to see, enjoy and be inspired.
On his private visits home he still mentors young Jaru, telling them to be healthy, live strong and go to school. They hang off every word. He also continues to work with Brett Badger, the Operations Manager, taking care of older Jaru men who need support.
And then, of course, there’s his exceptional football ability, recently coming back from a serious shoulder injury to kick 21 goals in 8 games and play with the excitement, skill and flair of his Warlpiri upbringing! And to take what we know would have to be ‘mark of the year’!
Check it out here:
To view more images of Liam Jurrah, visit The Slattery Media Group Website