Essendon partnered with North Melbourne FC and Sports Without Borders for the first time to host the third Unity Cup with the Australian Federal Police at Windy Hill last Sunday.
North Melbourne FC supplied the shirts for Newport and ICV and has three players come out to show support and thrill the kids.
Essendon’s Bachar Houli made his presence felt early, signing autographs for the start-struck kids.
IISNA prevailed for the third time in a row, kicking late goals to be beat Newport in a tight contest.
The day was again popular with families who turned up in force to support, eat and generally have fun. The Jumping castle was the centre of attention for the kids.
Despite the success, next year might be a little different though, according to Ramzi Elsayed from the Islamic Council of Victoria. He says that there is a maturing of the relationship between Muslims and AFP, and the ‘friendship is now well and truly entrenched,’ but there is now room to expand into other religions and communities.
“Aussie rules is very popular amongst Lebanese, however it is sometimes harder to engage Somali and Turks who are at risk communities. The goal is to target these communities and get further participation,” Elsayed says.
Nick Harnett Essendon FC are also keen to include more teams from other backgrounds and more communities.
Helping to cement the event’s future, Moonee Valley City Council and Sports Without Borders co- sponsored the event’s prizes.
The organizers of the Unity Cup are looking forward to sending a combined all-star team from the Cup to play an exhibition match in Western Sydney later this year.
To see photos form the event: