Notre Dame's Yankeroos learn Aussie Rules

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 26-6-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Australian Rules football has become a popular extra curricular activity for American ‘Study Abroad’ students studying at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus.

The successful Study Aboard program has been operating for a number of years and sees students from American university’s such as Notre Dame, Indiana and Portland University travel to Fremantle for their ‘cultural and academic’ exchange.

Introducing them to Aussie Rules was the brainchild of local Fremantle businessman, Mr Tony Fairhead. He explains, “The initiative began in Semester 2, 2006 and has become a regular event on the students’ calendar.

“The team, called the Yankeroos, is formed at the beginning of each semester. Our aim is to teach American students the rules of the game and how to play, therefore promoting Aussie Rules to the Americans.”

American Study Abroad student, Kyle Peters, who participated in the Yankeroos team this semester, really enjoyed learning about the game. “My participation in the Yankeroos program really enhanced my Study Abroad experience here in Australia. Before we came to WA, none of us had any idea what ‘footy’ was. We went to a NAB Cup game and were completely baffled. This is where the Yankeroos came in.”

“The training sessions started out slow, with basic skills such as handballing and kicking being taught. We were terrible at first but slowly picked up the skills set,” said Mr Peters.

The team trained once a week at Fremantle Oval and became members of their host club, the South Fremantle Football Club. The football club has been a big supporter of the Yankeroos from the beginning and assisted in providing coaches, organising games and provided access to their gym and club rooms.

In recognition for their support for the Yankeroos, the South Fremantle Football Club was awarded ambassador status by the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) this year. The USAFL is committed to promoting Australian Rules football around the world.

To conclude their Australian football experience, a match is organised with the boys from Clontarf Football Academy (CFA).

CFA is attached to Clontarf Aboriginal College and works in partnership with them to offer the opportunity to play football to indigenous students. Director of the Clontarf Football Academy, Mr Karl Pirrottina explains, “We endeavour to teach the students the values of working together, respect for others and for themselves and we are able to do this using football as the vehicle.”

Having been taught the rules and how to play, the Yankeroos had an opportunity to put what they had learnt into practice.

“The scrimmage between the Yankeroos and Clontarf was a good finale to my footy experience. All our practice paid off as we got to give a try at a ‘live game’,” said Study Abroad student, Chris Boline.

“It was useful to see the skills exhibited by the Clontarf players. Playing side-by-side with them allowed me to pick up on facets of the game that I had not learnt in practice.”

Both Kyle and Chris were awarded with a Clontarf T-shirt from Karl Pirrottina, on behalf of Clontarf Football Academy, in recognition for their football efforts while here in Australia.

Media contact:

Rebecca Cassidy 08 9433 0611, 0408 959 138