By Sally McGlew
THE popularity of bush footy has not been lost on Chris and Rikita Ryder, who have watched the Koongamia Footy Club grow from one team to three in just 12 months.
Home games at the Koongamia Oval have been packed this season, with growing interest in the local competition since COVID-19 hit Australia.
“A lot of country teams have stopped playing due to COVID-19 so we have had a lot of people wanting to join the Koongamia Football Club,” Koongamia Footy Club president Chris Ryder said.
Club Registrar Rikita Ryder said the players for both the men’s and women’s team travel from as far away as Butler and Clarkson in the north and Margaret River and Dunsborough in the south-west and as far as Dowerin and Dalwallinu in the mid-west.
“Koongamia has a country feel and the oval is surrounded by trees which means you can park cars all the way around and watch the game,” she said.
The club is described as very social and community minded.
“Everybody is really supportive of one another, so even if you can’t get to a game you might come and run water just to be at the club and see everyone.”
Rikita Ryder said the club’s popularity had grown from Facebook and word of mouth, with the women’s team now enjoying a squad of 27 players.
“We can only have 16 on the ground so we almost have enough for a second women’s team.”
Chris Ryder said the division one and two men’s team played teams from Kelmscott, Midland, Beechboro, Queens Park, Brighton Sea Horse, Murdoch University and Innaloo.
The women’s division only has four teams in the mix.
“Kelmscott, Queens Park, Murdoch University and Koongamia.”
In the first game of the season Koongamia 7/11 defeated Queens Park 8/3.
Rikita Ryder said the women’s two-point win was well earned.
In the men’s division one Koongamia 23/22 defeated Brighton Sea Horses 7/11.
In the men’s Division Two Midland 13/9 defeated Koongamia 11/7.