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As we reflect on National Reconciliation week, Touch Football Australia (TFA) continues the important work of Reconciliation with the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community of Touch Football and more broadly Australia.

TFA brings together a group of recognisable and highly credentialed Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander members of the Touch Football community to form the first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Action group which will work with the existing Touch Football RAP Panel and TFA.

The RAP Action group’s role will be to provide leadership and advice to assist TFA in enhancing experiences and increasing the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nation’s most popular social sport.

The inaugural RAP Action Group members are:


Phil Gyemore, RAP Panel Chair and Emu Men’s Head Coach. Phil is a proud Waka Waka and Wangan man who also sits on the Australia Rugby League Indigenous Council as the TFA representative.

Cliff Lyons

A proud Wiradjuri man originally from Narrandera, NSW. Cliff has played 332 games in the NRL with both the North Sydney Bears and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Cliff has represented the NSW Blues and Australian Kangaroos 6 times in the sport of Rugby League. He regularly plays Touch at Manly Warringah Touch Association and has represented the Sydney Scorpions at the National Touch League and Team NSW in the Touch Football State of Origin series.

Cliff is the owner and director of Indigenous owned business Bennelong Energy Services which assists with delivering of the annual Bennelong Cup in Sydney. A joint initiative with Bennelong Energy Services, BGIS, NRL School to work and the Clontarf Foundation. The initiative was first launched in 2018 as a way to link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students and young people with employment and apprenticeship opportunities across a diverse range of industries. Since inception the Bennelong Cup has placed 50 young adults into employment opportunities through the Cup’s sponsors that will no doubt be the start of promising careers.

Carly Walsh

A proud Anaiwan woman, raised on Wiradjuri country. Carly has played Touch Football for over 10 years and has represented both NSW, Australia and most importantly Touch Football Indigenous All Stars. The game has given Carly the opportunity to make a lifetime of memories and friends who have become family.

She has worked as teacher for 10 years, mentoring young people in a range of educational environments and sees Reconciliation as an opportunity to listen, learn and grow as a community, not just for a week but every day.

Carly views the Touch Football community as a place that enables people to gather together and gives us the chance to recognise our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and share in the history of our rich enduring culture.

Bo de la Cruz

Bo was born in Darwin, on Larrakia country and currently resides in Brisbane on Turrbal/Jagera country. Bo is a proud descendant of the Gudjala and Erub (Darnley Island) people in the Torres Strait and works for Deadly Choices as an Ambassador helping promote healthy lifestyle choices to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as a part of the Business Development team co-ordinating partnerships between professional sporting teams. Bo is the only female panellist on NITV’s weekly Indigenous Rugby League show, “Over the black dot” and new series “Feeding the Scrum".

Bo has been a vital cog in the Australia Women’s Open Touch team since 2001 and, in 2012 was named Vice-Captain of that team as well as Captain of the Australian Indigenous Women’s Open team. Bo captained the Australian Women’s over 35’s team to an undefeated World Cup win in Malaysia in 2019, which was her final Australian representative honour.

More recently, Bo was named as a member of the Touch Football Australia Golden Jubilee team which recognised the top 14 female players to ever play the sport of Touch Football. She was also the Assistant coach for the Indigenous Touch Football All Stars team in 2020 and is the Assistant Coach of the Brisbane Broncos NRLW team.

Graham White

Graham White is an Iman descendent who grew up in the Rockhampton Region and has been playing Touch Football across Australia for over 40 years. He is currently the Director of Sector Engagement and Communications with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in Brisbane and has extensive experience in the areas of Strategic and Operational Planning and Project Management. He is currently a member of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory group, a skills-based director with Kambu Aboriginal Corporation, and a Director of PCYC QLD. He has also been a board member of the ‘Iman Native Title Company’ at Rockhampton.

Allan Girdler

Born and raised in Katherine, NT. Allan identifies as a Dagoman man from the Katherine region, Wangkangurru and Lower Southern man from the Simpson Desert. Allan is currently the Director of Operations at the Aboriginal Interpreter Service, Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet Northern Territory Government.

He is profoundly aware of the importance of being culturally appropriate in all aspects of his personal and professional life. Living and working across the NT Allan has expanded his knowledge & depth of understanding of complexities in cultural, social and economic issues in areas including education, employment, health & well-being, justice, safety, housing, land and waters across the Northern Territory and Australia.

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