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Saturday, January 25 2020 @ 04:34 pm ACDT

So what, pray tell, is a “Brother Club”?

AustraliaA little over six months ago a small Australian Rules football club in northern Australia had an idea.

In a deliberate bid to turn around negative perceptions of their club, they looked at social media, specifically Facebook, to begin contacting clubs as possible “friends”. But like anything enjoyable, one or two friends became nine or ten. Before long, the club had hatched an idea of having a group of “Brother Clubs”.

So the term “Brother Club” was bandied about, but many people did not really know what it meant. Some clubs jumped at the chance and became “brothers”. Other clubs, being a little more sceptical, held off in case it was some brand new “scheme” which would ultimately result in a risk to money or image. Both fair points given what is out there on “the net”.

But the “Brother Club” idea is not new and is not a threat. For the simplest comparison, consider the world wide concept of sister cities, where cities around the world come together for geographical, cultural, social or economic reasons to be friends for the small price of a lovely plaque and maybe a small civic event to celebrate it. From there, those cities decide whether they do anything else.

Australian Rules “Brother Clubs” are no different. We become friends by name to communicate, exchange ideas, offer assistance or just simply barrack for each other. Since the inception of this idea, the club involved has already been offered scholarships for indigenous players, fielded requests for player exchanges, arranged to send equipment or other donations to clubs less well off around the world, received club jumpers from around the world for a joint promotion. They have also given out and received the occasional certificate. These ventures might prove to be the tip of the iceberg as clubs around the world find that they have surplus of what another club might need. Players, expertise, equipment, advertising opportunities, recruitment or just plain old fashioned money might be exchanged as clubs work together.

It is possible that this concept existed long before this latest version hit the world of Facebook, though one might have expected to cross paths with it somewhere along the line, and so far this has not happened. Maybe this version of “Brother Clubs” is it. But is the objective for a club in northern Australia to be the one and only seeker of other brothers? Absolutely not! In fact, until clubs across the world are joined in a symbolic brotherhood, then the idea only serves the needs of one club, and that is not the point of “Brother Clubs”. The idea is to bring the entire community of Australian Rules football clubs together in a friendly and meaningful way.

The AFL in Australia does support international, regional and local leagues and clubs. But those clubs are largely anonymous to each other. One of the most common comments raised since this idea was floated is people not being aware that Australian Rules football was played in a serious way beyond our national borders. Already that perception is slowly changing. The people who drive these clubs remain firmly in the background. The “Brother Club” idea gives a chance for the people within those clubs to have a voice. They can simply chat, offer ideas or comments, say hello, make people laugh or any one of almost unlimited ways of personally communicating. This is the personal touch, made by the people who are the clubs.

As of today, the club in question boasts 62 “Brother Clubs” across the world. Their quest is to have a ‘brother” in every Aussie Rules playing nation. Already the list includes clubs in every continent except Antarctica, and this is also being addressed. But as impressive as that might be, the aim of the “Brother Club” idea is to encourage ALL clubs across the world to unite. To make friends with each other. To gather their own lists of clubs and start dialogues. There is no telling how far this idea can spread. It might even do some good!

Any club interested now in becoming a brother club could contact me by name on Facebook. But our club will be disappointed if we don’t see chat on the airwaves of hundreds of other clubs becoming friends.

So, take the dip and become someone’s “Brother Club”.

In a previous article on this website, the words of John Lennon were used. “Imagine all the people…sharing all the world.”

We will quote John again.

“Come Together.”
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