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Culture through cricket: Q&A with Brock Larance

Young Indigenous Australian Cricketer Brock Larance is stepping through the ranks of the sporting world one over at a time. The talented all-rounder is a Biripi man who was born in Dubbo NSW but finds himself far from home as he chases his dreams on the western coast of the nation.

Larance is a decorated athlete, having represented the NSW Country/ACT side, the Australian Indoor cricket team, and the The Australian Men’s Indigenous cricket team.

It has not been an easy ride for Larance to reach where he is at in his career, after deciding to leave his home, his family, and his culture, after making the move to Perth. Larance finds himself over 3,500km away from home and may feel alone at times, but his culture continues to keep him grounded as he chases his dreams.

Larance now plays for Willetton Cricket Club in Perth and was signed for their first-grade side as an all-rounder. Larance admits he didn’t have the best season after being dropped from the first grade side at the end of the season. Despite this, Larance still proved his worth in the second grade grand final, scoring 61 runs in a man of the match performance to help his side win.

The young gun proved he can perform in the big moments when it really matters, and he wants to bring this confidence into the next tour with the Australian Men’s Indigenous cricket team.

Cricket bat leaning on Australian cricket helmet on a grassy field

Larance represented the Australian Men’s Indigenous cricket team in the 2018 England tour, 2019 Brisbane tour, and will put the indigenous jersey on once again in may 2023 in the upcoming Vanautu tour.

Representing your culture through sport is something Larance takes great pride in and I spoke to Larance about the impact his culture has had on his career, and how it has helped him as a young athlete chasing his dreams.

Q: You’re Biripi man but you were born in Dubbo, how did you find moving 3500km away from home, your family, and your culture?

A: It was definitely tough, the first week was easy because I was very refreshed to it, but once I realised the extent of the things I left behind it got pretty real, pretty quick. I got in contact with the Clontarf foundation over here and caught up with a couple of fellas and had a chat about what they do to stay a bit connected with the alumni of Clontarf over here which was good for me because I only knew a handful of people.

Point of view shot from side stand of stadium including seats and cricket pitch
Q: You recently got the call up to represent the Australian Men’s Indigenous Cricket team again in the Vanuatu tour, how does it feel to get this opportunity again after being dropped by your club in Perth and having that bit of struggle?

A: Its really good, its obviously nice to still be recognised as a good player. I think a few (strong) performances at the back end of the year probably helped them to go “look he’s probably still got it, he’s still good enough let’s bring him along”. So it was a nice little lifter for me after not going well to go “look this is who I am, I’m not doing what I’m capable of doing at the moment, but there is still people out there who believe in me” so I will stick to my guns.

Q: You haven’t represented the Indigenous side since 2019, what does it mean to you to put that Australian indigenous jersey on again and represent Australia’s culture as a Biripi man?

A: Its very special, I think the time off definitely makes it more significant, and another big part of it for me is being so far away from my people, and my culture and not having spent any time within that community for so long. It will be nice because its one of those things that brings you back down to earth, and you really sit there and you go “this is why I do it, this is who I do it for”. I’m doing it for myself, everyone in Australian history’s past, everyone back home that supports me, and everyone back home in the community that loves sport as well, its not only cricket. I think about the little kids that I was teaching down at Buninyong (Primary School in Dubbo) last year that were like “Brock we just love sport” and for them to see a picture of me with the Australian Indigenous jersey on to go “hey look he can do it, I can do it too!” is another little thing for me. If I can put a smile on these little kids faces and help them chase their dreams, then that’s another little tick to the box.

Q: How influential are these indigenous programs to young athletes, and what is it like to go into that setting with cultural mentors?

A: I came into the environment first as a 16 year old kid, so I can speak on behalf of a young kid. Its very changing, you’re with blokes who have spent 10-20 years longer than you in their respective communities with their mobs learning about different things within different mobs which is a huge advantage meeting blokes from all over the country who have connections to all different parts of the country to share their story, and learn about their story. As a young fella its one of the coolest things you can do to go away with 12 other blokes, and as a kid you just sit there and soak in all of these different stories and cultural connections that are passed onto you, that you can later pass onto the kids that you’ll teach later in life, so its pretty special. This time around it will be good being able to chuck my arm around a few of the new fellas and say “look this is a safe place, this is the best place you can possibly be right now, you’re with 12 other blokes who all have the same goals in mind as you, and the same respect for the same things you do, just embrace everything you can and take it all in because this will be the best 10 days you’ve had in a long time.

Cricket pitch being prepared in small stadium
Q: How have your mentors incorporated Aboriginal culture into these cricket camps?

A: We’ve done a few smoking ceremonies where we get an elder in from the community we are in at the time and they tell us stories about the land we were on which was their land, and it just brought you back to earth and gave you a good connection to where you were and what happened before you were there to keep you grounded so you’re in a better place when you get out onto the park. Another little thing is just throwing boomerangs around. And just the connection you get, like back in the day they were throwing boomerangs around hunting trying to catch a feed is literally the same as throwing a cricket ball at a set of stumps trying to get a runout. Just the connectivity to that is pretty cool to know that back in the day it was literally the same thing we are doing now, just for a different purpose.

Photos by Jack Lenord