Gold Road Resources, a leading Western Australian gold developer and explorer, is a keen supporter of both the local indigenous communities in the Yamarna region of Western Australia, and the great game of AFL football.

[L - R] Former West Coast Eagles player, Daniel Kerr, with Zali and Enza Ryder.

What better way to combine the two than to participate in the Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round of AFL football? 

For the last three years Gold Road Resources have run a competition aimed at encouraging creative and educational input from the young local indigenous community, with the prize an all-expenses paid trip to Melbourne to watch the AFL Indigenous Round showpiece “Dreamtime at the ‘G” match between Essendon and Richmond.

10 year old Zali Ryder, of Yilka descent from the remote Cosmo Newberry community, was the winner of the 2018 competition and attended this year’s Dreamtime game on 2 June.

Zali Ryder running out onto the field as one of the game's two junior mascots.

Cosmo Newberry is the nearest community to Gold Road’s Gruyere Gold Project, currently the largest undeveloped gold deposit in Australia. Twelve of the 60 Cosmo Newberry residents are school-aged children with a keen interest in football.

This year’s competition asked for entrants to write a short story on 'How can mining enrich my family’s life'. The fabulous winning entry from Zali included a vivid story explaining how her life has been enriched since her mother started working for Gold Road Resources on it’s Yamarna exploration project, before moving into an Environmental Technician role on the Gruyere Gold Project now under construction.

Zali and her mother, Enza, travelled from Cosmo Newberry to Melbourne for the marquee game, as well as other activities in Melbourne over an inspiring long weekend. Zali and Enza were accompanied by Sharon Goddard, General Manager Corporate for Gold Road, and former West Coast Eagles player Daniel Kerr, who Gold Road support in running an education program at Cosmo Newberry.

Gold Road Resources thanked the Essendon Football Club for hosting Zali and Enza on a tour of the Essendon Hanger and providing the tickets to the game as well as Korin Gamadji Institute, through which Zali was offered the unique and thrilling opportunity to be one of Richmond’s two junior game mascots, one she readily accepted.

Without a doubt, running out with the reigning AFL premiers onto the ‘G’, through the massive banner, and across the ground for their warm-up was the highlight of the trip for Zali. The Korin Gamadji Institute focuses on providing education, training and leadership, and career development for indigenous people across Australia.

This was the first time Zali had travelled to Melbourne and her first AFL game at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. The weekend was an eye-opener for her and Enza, full of memories and new experiences.

Gold Road Executive Director, Justin Osborne said it is great to be able to provide one of the young Aboriginal children from Cosmo Newberry with the chance to attend the Dreamtime game which has become the landmark game of the AFL’s Indigenous Round of football.

"This is the third year we have provided this unique opportunity, and every year the entries we get from the kids for the competition give us delight and an invariably hard choice to make in picking the winner. As a Richmond supporter myself I have attended this game in the past and experienced the tremendous celebration of our country’s Indigenous culture."

"The Yilka people love their footy and for Zali to have the unique memory of running out onto the ground in a packed MCG Stadium, and with the Richmond team as current AFL premiers, is something I am sure she will remember for a long time," Justin said.

Gold Road and the Gruyere Gold Project provide the community with support in various ways, including sponsoring former West Coast Eagles player, Daniel Kerr, to run education programs aimed at encouraging school attendance, health and wellbeing and exercise. This program has been very successful to date and received enthusiastically by the kids at Cosmo.