This Footy Team Made Up Of Prisoners Could Win A Grandfinal In The NT

They still win, even if they don't.

16/09/2016 6:02 PM AEST | Updated 17/09/2016 6:37 AM AEST
Meet the possible champions of the Barkly Australian Football League.

AFL grand finals are always a big thing, whether they're at the MCG or in a small country town.

However, the grand final at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory today is a pretty damn big deal.

Because a football team, which has only been in the competition for two years has made it. And they're playing defending champions who have won 11 grand finals in the past 14 years.

These newbies also happen to be a team made up of prisoners. Low risk inmates to be specific. And they're going to bring their A game.

Whether they win or lose, that's not really the point.

The point is their team work and skill set in not only benefiting the players, but the community within the prison.

Former prison psychologist Dr Andrew Day told The Huffington Post Australia team building is invaluable to inmates and helps reduce the risk of recidivism.

"Often when people are in prison there's very little for them to do and very little constructive activities for them to do, so activities that are meaningful and purposeful can help them think of themselves in a different way can only be helpful," Dr Day said.

"There is something about the identity of people and people starting to believe and see themselves as non-offending people who have a role in the future and the community.

"Certainly sport can play a big role in creating a positive identity for people."

The coach of the Barkly Prisoner Work Camp team, Kenneth Cole, is also an inmate who received his Nationally Accredited Level 1 Coaching Certificate this year after attending the AFLNT coaching course.

Work Camp Chief Correctional Officer Danny Measures said the team, which has won eight out of 12 minor round games, has become exceptionally competitive under Cole's guidance.

"The program provides opportunities to players from the BWC that have been of exceptionally good behaviour to play AFL in an AFLNT affiliated League competition," Measures said.

The Work Camp has also given top players to remote community teams as well as goal umpires, scoreboard attendants and other officials.

"You could say that by providing assistance to ensure the competition progresses in a time where volunteers are scarce, the Barkly Work Camp has played an integral role in ensuring the League has been able to continue as a viable competition for the region's players," Danny said.

"In addition, the BWC also provides a prisoner work party -- in conjunction with the BAFL and AFLNT Development Manager -- to prepare the oval each week, marking out the lines, setting and packing up the ground, collecting all litter and cleaning the dressing rooms to ensure the smooth running of the competition."

And there's still room for a little friendly rivalry against reigning premiers 'Sporties Spitfires'.

"The whole Work Camp is behind the team with the possible exception of three Correctional Officers who play for the Spitfires," Measures said.

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