The Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy will be coached by two-time AFL premiership legend and inaugural Indigenous Brownlow Medallist Gavin Wanganeen in 2022.
Wanganeen forged a career as one of Australia’s most prolific footballers in a glittering career from 1990 until his retirement in 2006.
He made history as the first Indigenous player to win the AFL’s highest player accolade when he was awarded the Brownlow Medal in 1993.
Since retirement, Wanganeen has gone on to establish himself as a traditional artist as well as serve on the Port Adelaide Football Club board and recently see his own sun Tex make his AFL debut for Essendon.
In becoming the Tjindu Aboriginal AFL Academy’s coach, Wanganeen is excited to be part of a program that emphasises both cultural education and football development.
“It’s really exciting to be part of the Tjindu Foundation Aboriginal AFL Academy for 2022,” says Wanganeen.
“The players get to learn about their culture – something they’ve missed out on growing up in some cases – and once you know about who you are, life’s so much easier to tackle.
“I’m really enjoying working with the Tjindu Foundation, and the boys and girls who are starting their journey in life and setting up positive engagement with them.”
The Aboriginal AFL Academy provides an elite, culturally-positive environment for up-and-coming Aboriginal footballers living in South Australia to develop their football prowess while also receiving credit toward their education during years 10, 11 and 12.
Successful participation and completion of education components in the program results in students earning a Certificate II or III in Sport Coaching or credits towards their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) for Aboriginal Studies.
Find out more about the Aboriginal AFL Academy here.
Gavin Wanganeen profile
Playing career: 1990-2006
SANFL: 27 games (Port Adelaide)
AFL: 300 games – 173 games (Port Adelaide), 127 games (Essendon) ( PA – SANFL 1990,2006, ESS 1991-96, P.A 1997-2006)
Representative: 8 games (South Australia)
SANFL: 48 (Port Adelaide)
AFL: 202 – 138 (Essendon), 64 (Port Adelaide)
Representative: 1 (South Australia)
Premierships: 2 AFL (Essendon, 1993; Port Adelaide, 2004); 1 SANFL (Port Adelaide, 1990)
Brownlow Medal: 1 (1993)
Best and Fairest: 1 (Port Adelaide, 2003)
All-Australian 1992,1993,1995, 2001, 2003
Port Adelaide AFL Captain 1997-2000
Essendon Team of the Century
Essendon Hall of Fame – Legend
Port Adelaide Hall of Fame