Jurrah in August 2009
|Full name||Liam Jungarrayi Jurrah|
|Nickname(s)||LJ, the Warlpiri Wizard, the Cougar|
|Date of birth||22 September 1988|
|Original team(s)||Yuendumu Magpies (CAFL) / Nightcliff (NTFL)|
|Draft||1st overall, 2009 Pre-Season Draft
|Height / weight||188 cm / 84 kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2012.
Jurrah is also known as "Jungarrayi", an initiated member of the Warlpiri people who are based in Yuendumu, a small and remote Indigenous Australian community 300 km north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Since 2012 Jurrah has been charged with legal offences on several occasions.
Jurrah was born in Yuendumu to mother Corrina and father Leo Japaljarri Jurrah (a legend in Yuendumu football). Amongst many others, as per Warlpiri tradition, his Grandmother Cecily was also instrumental in his upbringing. During his childhood Jurrah grew up speaking four different indigenous Australian dialects as well as learning English and had never swum in the ocean. Jurrah began playing Australian rules football from a very young age, playing most of his football at the local red dirt Yuendumu oval and at Football carnivals throughout the Central Australian desert (Sports Weekends) against other remote communities such as Papunya, Lajamanu (home of his cousin Liam Patrick) and Hermannsburg. In his mid-teens he began following his father 600 kilometres each week to play for Yuendumu in the Alice Springs Central Australian Football League. Jurrah was involved in the 2005 Under 17, 2005,07,08 A Grade premiership seasons with the Yuendumu Magpies. Also during his mid-teens Jurrah began acting as a volunteer with the Mt Theo Program under its Jaru Pirrjirdi youth development program, which saw him helping to run youth activities such as sport, bush trips and discos for Yuendumu youth <http://www.mttheo.org>. His leadership and strength saw him rapidly progress through this program to begin acting as a youth mentor helping other Warlpiri young men in Yuendumu.
Jurrah was first brought to Melbourne in 2007 as a guest of a Collingwood coterie group called the Industrial Magpies when he watched his first match at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. He returned to Melbourne in 2008 where he was played by Collingwood in the Victorian Football League for four games and showed great athleticism and talent. Later that year he represented Victoria (VFL) against South Australia (SANFL). His stay in Melbourne was cut short by his need to return to Yuendumu for family responsibilities to support a dying friend.
In September 2008 he won the Everingham Medal as the best player in the inaugural combined competition CAFL Grand Final, with his four first-quarter goals helping to set up Yuendumu's premiership victory. This historic premiership was in the new combined competition of the 'town' and 'country' sides who had previously played separately in Alice Springs. It also marked the culmination of a great era in Yuendumu football having won Senior 'Ngurratjuta Country Cup' premierships in 2003-04-05 and 2007 before the combined comp CAFL premiership in 2008. Following the CAFL season Jurrah also played for Nightcliff in the Northern Territory Football League where he kicked five goals in his last game and AFL talent scouts first identified him – Aaron Davey also noticed him at this time and spoke to Melbourne recruiting staff. Jurrah returned to Melbourne in December, where he was pursued by numerous AFL clubs including the North Melbourne Football Club where he trained
Jurrah was later nominated for the AFL Pre-season Draft by former Collingwood player Rupert Betheras, and was given special dispensation to nominate, despite not nominating for the previous National Draft.
Jurrah spent his first year in Melbourne living with friends and then with his partner, as well as fellow Melbourne player Austin Wonaeamirri.
His senior indigenous teammates at Melbourne, Aaron Davey, Matthew Whelan (both from Darwin) and Austin Wonaeamirri (from the Tiwi Islands), all played major roles in assisting Jurrah to adapt to life in Melbourne.
In Round 12 of the 2009 AFL season Jurrah made his AFL debut against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday Night Football. He kicked a remarkable goal whilst falling to the ground after attempting a specky in the goalsquare and also had two long kicks at goal touched on the line. In Melbourne's Round 15 victory over Port Adelaide, Jurrah scored four goals and assisted in multiple other goals for which he was rewarded with an AFL Rising Star nomination. While the Demons struggled for success on the field he became a shining light for supporters. He was given the moniker "Warlpiri Wizard" for his scintillating style of play. He carries on the tradition of highly skilled indigenous forwards set by the original Demon "Wizard" Jeff Farmer.
In November 2009, Jurrah returned to Yuendumu with the Melbourne president Jim Stynes and Channel 7's Tim Watson. The trip was a chance for Jurrah's family and friends at Yuendumu to celebrate his achievement and a chance for the Melbourne Football Club to see where Jurrah had come from. A story about the visit was aired on Channel 7's Sunday Night program.
Close to the start of the 2010 season, Jurrah required surgery for a dislocation of his shoulder. The injury was caused by an awkward fall during a practice match with the Adelaide Crows. Shortly after, Chris Connolly from the Melbourne Football Club announced that Jurrah would be out for approximately 16 weeks.
Jurrah made a successful return to the senior Melbourne team, after spending several weeks playing with Melbourne's VFL affiliate the Casey Scorpions, kicking two goals in the Demons' Round 15 win against Essendon.
In January 2013 Jurrah was charged with drink driving in Adelaide after recording a blood alcohol content of 0.27%. He failed to attend his court hearing in March 2013. The case was subsequently finalised in his absence, with Jurrah being fined and banned from driving for two years.
In March 2013 Jurrah was charged with four counts of aggravated assault in Alice Springs, he subsequently plead guilty to one count of unlawful assault, and was sentenced to six months in jail time.
In December 2013 Jurrah was charged with driving offences after being involved in a high-speed police chase.
Jurrah returned to competitive football for Souths in Alice Springs in August 2014.
- AFL Rising Star nomination: Round 15, 2009
- Harold Ball Memorial Trophy, Melbourne FC best first-year player, 2009
- 2010 Mark of the Year winner
- 2011 Melbourne FC leading goalkicker (40)
- Williams, Rebecca (20 June 2009)Liam Jurrah brings some joy
- Jurrah lights up Dees
- "Liam Jurrah takes a chance as Melbourne lives the dream". Mark Robinson for the Herald Sun. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- Lalor, Peter.Across the culture gap, Jurrah makes his mark The Australian 22 August 2009
- 'Dreams come true' for Indigenous AFL player; ABC News
- Stevens, Mark. Liam Jurrah to debut for Melbourne Demons Herald Sun. 18 June 2009
- Flanagan, Martin. Melbourne's Warlpiri warrior The Age. 3 February 2009
- Flanagan, Martin (3 February 2009) Marlbourne's Warlpiri Warrior; Realfooty.com.au
- Flanagan, Martin (15 August 2007) Magpies spread their wings
- Jellett, Carley (5 May 2008) Cats' big finish grounds Magpies; Realfooty.com.au
- Aloia, Andrew (16 December 2008) Jurrah set for life-changing AFL draft day
- Bennett, Max (23 Sep 2008) Jurrah seals historic win
- Broad, Ben Roos in hunt for top top-end prospect afl.com.au Fri 12 December 2008
- Stevens, Mark (18 June 2009)>Liam Jurrah to debut for Melbourne Demons; Herald Sun
- Dees take Jurrah with pick 1
- Rookies to make debut in Allstars match
- Sheridan, Nick (15 February 2009) Coming of age
- Silkstone, Dan (20 June 2009) Jurrah's arrival speaks to future
- Burgan, Matt. "NAB AFL Rising Star: Rd 15". AFL. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- Dead Set Legends
- Adelaide Crows down Melbourne Demons, Liam Jurrah injured
- "Troubled Jurrah flies south", Northern Territory News, 9 March 2012.
- "Jurrah not guilty of machete attack - The West Australian". Au.news.yahoo.com. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Littleley, Bryan (17 January 2013). "AFL star Liam Jurrah charged for drink-driving after blowing five times the limit at Para Hills". News.com.au. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "Liam Jurrah fails to attend court for drink-drive charge". adelaidenow. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Marcus, Candice (8 May 2013). "AFL star Jurrah fined for drink driving".
- "Jurrah charged with assault". Theage.com.au. AAP. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "Former AFL star Liam Jurrah jailed over assault on Jillian Brown during Alice Springs brawl". 13 June 2013.
- "Liam Jurrah charged over high-speed police chase in Alice Springs". 16 December 2013.
- "Former AFL star Liam Jurrah arrested, charged with aggravated assault in Alice Springs". 29 April 2014.
- Landsberger, Sam (10 August 2014). "Liam Jurrah kicks 14 goals in first game since being released from prison". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- "Jurrah and Franklin scoop mark, goal honours". AFL. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- Biographies of the State and Territory finalists 2010
- Jurrah: NT Young Australian of the Year
- Mackinnon, Bruce Hearn (2011). The Liam Jurrah Story: From Yuendumu to the MCG. Victory Books. ISBN 978-0-522-86058-0.