Hand In Hand to Highlight Disability Inclusion


As part of the Fremantle Dockers’ Purple Hands Round on Friday, WA football will again partner with the club to highlight disability inclusion.

More than 500 representatives from the community, government, and those working towards disability inclusion are expected at the event on Friday afternoon, where participants will cross Matagarup Bridge – Hand in Hand.

Those attending will include players and families from Starkick Community Clubs, Perth Football League Integrated Teams, the Fremantle Football Club and the club’s charity arm the Purple Hands Foundation.

A feature of the event will take place during the Friday night AFL blockbuster at Optus Stadium, when at half time in the AFL match, Starkick players from across Perth will participate in a series of grid games in a celebration of football disability inclusion.

There will be 88 participants taking part at half time, the largest number of kids with a disability to ever play at an AFL half time activation.

Among those counting down the days to the event is Noah Fitzgerald.

Noah is seven years old and started playing last year at the launch of the first Deaf Starkick centre at North Beach JFC where the program is delivered using Auslan.

The North Beach Deaf and Hard of Hearing Starkick centre has been made possible through the generous support of Telethon.

Noah will be taking part in the guard of honour on Friday night at Optus Stadium as well as the half time activation.

Another participant with a love for footy is Blake Cusac.

Eight-year-old Blake is a Fremantle Dockers tragic, and his wall is adorned with Sean Darcy posters.

Blake has been a member at Piara Waters JFC, Starkick since the club started the program in 2021.

Hayden Marchetto, Executive Officer at the WA All Abilities Football Association (WAAFA), is excited about the initiative.

“We wanted to support the Fremantle Dockers Make our Mark Round and, in the process, shine a light on the shared values of disability inclusion and community engagement with their Purple Hands Foundation," Marchetto said.

“We understand the impact that footy provides, and the idea for Hand in Hand – Crossing for Inclusion flowed on from that."

By coming together, the event aims to create a more inclusive and accepting society where everyone can participate and belong to our great game.

The Starkick initiative is the WA Footballs junior program supporting children with disability in playing football at community level.

The Integrated Football League is the WAAAFA senior competition for people with an intellectual disability.

The Hand in Hand initiative aligns with the Fremantle Football Club’s Purple Hands Foundation.

The Dockers place high importance on community engagement through their outreach programs.

Their involvement provides a large platform of reach for inclusion, supporting individuals with disabilities to connect to community through their love of footy.

Telethon is a partner of Starkick and WAAFA.