This is not a unique experience. Girls and women have been playing footy for many, many years. To see a team of girls running around as part of the half time entertainment at an AFL venue has been seen and done many times.
However, there is something a little symbolic, prophetic and visionary about seeing girls on a footy field in 2016, the year the AFL committed to the first ever national women’s competition for 2017. Unlike most years before, this year a future, stark and defined, sits in front of any young girl or woman who takes to the fields of footy.
A group of us were chatting online after training this week about each player’s multicultural heritage. The club is Pyramid Power in Cairns – my team – and we are a club already renowned for having a 92% indigenous playing list. Most of our players are aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander by heritage. When you have that kind of background there mustn’t be much else in terms of diverse backgrounds.
A closer look unveiled Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Irish, English, Welsh, Scottish, Sierra Leone, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Samoan, South Sea Islander (by description, but uncertain of which islands) and Papua New Guinean. And these diverse origins didn’t come from the 8% of non-indigenous players. Such is the cultural diversity amongst indigenous and non-indigenous Australians – multiculturalism lives across all humanity.
The AFL Players’ Association has established its inaugural Multicultural Players’ Advisory Board to better understand the needs and issues affecting the current 122 players with multicultural backgrounds.
Made up of players from each state, the Board had its first official meeting last week and has since appointed Collingwood’s Mason Cox (USA) to lead the group as Chair.
I have just finished ready a new book by author Nick Richardson which looks at an amazing football match played at Queens in London in 1916 where two teams of Australian soldiers faced off against each other prior to their journey to the Western Front. Six of those players never came back, paying the ultimate sacrifice.
Players such as South Melbourne superstar Bruce Sloss and Collingwood captain Dan Minogue and Essendon player Bill Sewart and other well known VFL players of the era played for the Third Australian Divisional Team. Sloss was captain. Playing for the Australian Training Units Team were Essendon player Clyde Donaldson, Collingwood’s Harry Kerley and South Melbourne’s George Bower.
The AFL officially launched the 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round today at the Female Orphan School in the Parramatta campus of Western Sydney University.
The Toyota AFL Multicultural Round highlights the contribution different communities have made to Australian Football, while highlighting the extraordinary power the game has in uniting all people of all backgrounds.
AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor said the significance of the Female Orphan School in Western Sydney was not lost on her or the AFL.
Tony De Bolfo has named a team of International born players to have played at AFL club Carlton (with an 8 man extended bench) on the Carlton Football Club website.
Nations represented include England, Scotland, Ireland, NZ, Sweden, Yugoslavia, PNG, the Netherlands, Lebanon, South Africa, India, Italy, Austria and Wales. It also includes Tommy Hughes who was 'born at sea'. Hopefully in the near future American Matt Korcheck will be added to the list.
The following overview from the AFL gives some of the highlights of this coming weekend’s 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round. Using and enhancing many of the initiatives from last year’s highly successful round, the AFL is planning to showcase the multicultural heritage and future of the game like never before. The following article from the www.afl.com.au website lists some of the more exciting aspects of the round.
THE AFL's annual Multicultural Round celebrates the game's diversity and promotes inclusiveness, with the theme of 'Many Cultures, One Game'. Here's a look at what the AFL and some of the clubs are doing this weekend.
The following article by Nathan Schmook at www.afl.com.au looks at another AFL initiative in line with next weekend’s Multicultural Round. With the appointment of coaches from a diverse collection of multicultural backgrounds it is hoped that an even higher profile for Australian Rules football be raised within multicultural communities as well as bringing a wide range of skill sets to clubs at the highest level, filtering down to grass roots levels of the game.
The AFL Multicultural Round commences on Thursday 7th July and encompasses AFL matches through to Sunday 10th. For details on events for the 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, go to their website at: http://www.afl.com.au/multiculturalround
THE AFL is taking on the next frontier in football diversity by launching a program to place six multicultural coaches within clubs for the rest of the season.
Every week in football there are the thrashings when a mismatch of teams occurs. Often it is top of the table versus cellar dweller (though it can be any team versus any other on any given day) and usually comes about when one team is undermanned or overwhelmed. An occasional hiding can be cast aside and used as motivation to change. More regular thrashings can lead to a variety of confidence related issues which can send a club into the doldrums for lengthy periods.
Often people speak of mercy rules (especially in junior grades) and prefer that these kind of results “are never spoken of again lest they be bad for football.” Maybe that is true and valid.
By the Nunawading Lions in suburban Melbourne have endured a season that could well have been played inside Dante’s Inferno, such has been the hellish nature of 2016 scorelines. Yet this club is leading the way in resilience in a way that very few clubs have done before.