History of the Club

The Redtails Concept started from Rob Clarke’s desire to become part of the solution to change attitudes and behaviours in his community, rather than sit back and complain about the issues and the position of them in Central Australia. We as a community are at crisis point and need a positive solution to become united as one, or to at least start the process of change.

Rob Clarke had been a coach for Northside Power, a local Alice Springs u13 side since 2004. The players consisted of Indigenous and Non Indigenous players. What he noticed after a couple of years was the importance this game had to the players especially the Indigenous lads. What Rob also noticed was the effect he had in a positive way on all the players through discipline and respect for others and themselves. Another brilliant fact coming from all this was the mate ship between the Indigenous and non Indigenous young men.

Rob also had the great fortune of coaching Jake Neade for two years in the Northside Power U15's side. What AFL Football meant to Jake was obvious, it was everything and the influence on all his team mates was simply nothing short of amazing. The frustrating thing for Rob tho was Jake had to leave Central Australia and move south to make a name for himself, although Rob understood this was best for Jake and he encouraged it, the negative thing for the Central Australian Region was we as a community had lost a leader. This got Rob thinking the region needed something Big enough to show case the regions talent and enable them to grow and become a leader from home. He started brain storming and started asking questions to people in the area about starting a football club from Central Australia to play at the highest level in our State/Territory being the NTFL. He was laughed at. Clarkey what are you on, Clarkey the NTFL is 1500km's away, Clarkey they will never let it happen, these are just some of the comments he received.

Amongst all of this Rob got involved in a local senior club, Rovers Football Club based in Alice Springs as all three of his sons became players so he naturally became involved. He ended up Rovers President also coach of Rovers U17's and assistant coach of  B grade and A Grade. At the same time he was involved in the Southern NT Thunder division as a coach, while still coaching Northside Power. Rob could see that being involved was making an amazing amount of difference in his community and developing Individuals in the Region. The Rovers Football Club at the time was struggling to survive off the field and being flogged on the field. Even tho the club was in this position it didn't seem to faze the players and the effect of the player’s involvement replicated the experience Rob had seen in the lower junior levels. The Rovers Football Club is now financially viable and won a Premier Grade flag in 2012.

Along this already incredible journey Rob became a mentor for a young Indigenous man from Amoonguna Community and started making a very positive influence in his life. Until the day, of October 31 2010. Rob remembers that Sunday all too clearly. He was at work trying to catch up on his business as football was taking up so much of his time and then that dreaded phone call, Rob could over hear his wife talking to someone and he heard that word “death”. He remembers a terrible feeling and what seemed like a life time waiting for his wife to finish the conversation. When his wife hung up and told him what had happened that Josh had been murdered. He could not stop the tears and the feeling of anger and the hopeless feeling that the hours of work he had put into the community was for nothing, he could not help but feel a failure. In the days that came after this another moment hit Rob hard, the fact that the local paper notifying of this young man’s passing was nothing more than a classified add size. Rob took from this that our community had started to accept what had happened was normal it wasn't worthy of a terrible large story. This young man's life and what had happened to him was a classified add in a local paper.

Rob new at that moment that what he should have done when he was laughed at some years prior, was what he must do now or nothing would change. Hence Rob started out trying to gain momentum to start a Football Club that would change the face and climate of Central Australia. A tool that would drive change and everyone could become a part of a positive devise instead of a society angry and accepting nothing less than failure. This team could also be a finishing school type environment for our local talent and young men could stay and be role models for their even younger brothers and relations. This team would spread messages of healthy living, harmony and unity a tool for the young ones to aspire too.

While Rob was gaining support for this he ran into Ian McAdam, Ian had heard of what Rob was trying to Achieve and called a meeting. Ian informed Rob that he was in the process of developing a project called Right Tracks. After the meeting they could see real benefits' in amalgamating the two concepts. In the months and years to follow these two men Ian and Rob have fought to gain funding/sponsorship and a place in the NTFL. They also gained a four match trial series in the NTFL Premier League 2012/13 season with some amazing results on and off the field. They had 81 players train for this special occasion; the team called the Central Australian Football Club (Redtails) was born.

2012/13 Season
Their first game was against the power house Saint Mary’s Football Club on October 6th 2012. What happened that night at Traeger Park in Alice Springs was nothing short of incredible. A community divided became one and young men who only weeks before who were enemies within two hours of football became brothers they went on to win the match but more importantly believed in the concept and opportunity it provided. The Redtails went on to win three out of the four matches and were the only team to beat the St Mary's Football Club who went on to lose no more matches in that season and claimed the 2012/13 Premiership. Three of the lads (all indigenous) playing for the Redtails are now in full time employment and are leaders in their respective communities.

2013/14 Season
The Redtails/Right Tracks concept has gone into it’s next phase being excepted into the NTFL Premier League 2013/14 season for an extended 8 match trial period starting at Traeger park 7pm on October the 5th 2013. The Redtails will face each Top end club once, finishing in the last week of November. While this is happening on the field a pilot program for the Right Tracks Program will be operating off the field, incorporating a mentor between the football, healthy living and educational links.

Rob, Ian and the Committee hopes you will be part of the next chapter in the future and history of this great concept becoming a reality!
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