Leeds United’s final pit-stop on their pre-season tour of Australia has seen the team land in Perth this week.
The Whites have been out in force, putting on open training sessions, meeting and greeting local fans as they did in Brisbane and Gold Coast, and will face Crystal Palace in a friendly at the Optus Stadium on Friday.
Patrick Bamford, Dan James and Jesse Marsch met Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan on Wednesday with the state official welcoming the club to the region on what is the last leg of their trip Down Under.
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As the first team to arrive in the city for Perth’s Festival of International Football, Leeds had three representatives at the opening press meeting.
Marsch, Bamford and James were invited to speak, expressing their delight at being able to see the club’s support so far from home, as well as sharing gratitude for the warm welcome received.
Head coach Marsch began by thanking Premier McGowan before demonstrating his awareness of the region’s rich cultural history.
"I’d like to thank Premier McGowan for welcoming us here to Perth and Fremantle,” he said.
"I’d also like to start by acknowledging the original inhabitants of this land, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. We’re really excited to be here and play at the Optus Stadium against Crystal Palace.
"To see all our Leeds United fans in Australia has been outstanding. We expect a really good crowd, a blue and yellow crowd to support us on Friday night and we know it’ll be a good match so thank you for having us.”
Marsch has been praised for drawing attention to the Indigenous group who were largely driven out by European settlers in the 19th Century.
"Fantastic that JM [Jesse Marsch] and @LUFC acknowledged the Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation at the presser. Product of investment in quality people over many years”, a Perth-based Leeds supporter tweeted.
Another Australia-based Leeds fan said: “I live in Sydney and some journalists and politicians fail to acknowledge the original land owners so for JM [Marsch] to do this and learn the name of the people and the importance of saying this is really impressive.”
The Right to Self-Determination is an important issue for Aboriginal peoples in Australian society and politics.
Australia’s Human Rights Commission says: “Self determination is an ‘on going process of choice’ to ensure that Indigenous communities are able to meet their social, cultural and economic needs. It is not about creating a separate Indigenous ‘state’.
“The right to self determination is based on the simple acknowledgment that Indigenous peoples are Australia’s first people.
"Without self-determination it is not possible for Indigenous Australians to fully overcome the legacy of colonisation and dispossession.”