It’s footy with­out borders

‘United Na­tions’ AFL guard of hon­our demon­strates the cul­tural di­ver­sity of fans from the West

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Cindy Ngo

SIDE by side the young footy fans stood — a United Na­tions AFL team em­body­ing the mul­ti­cul­tural fab­ric of Western Syd­ney.

Their fam­ily her­itages are drawn from across the globe — Iran, Le­banon, In­dia, the Philip­pines, Egypt, Ger­many, Italy and more — but they have one thing in com­mon. A pas­sion for footy.

Aged seven to 16, the young AFL fans were cho­sen to form a guard of hon­our for the Greater Western Syd­ney Giants as they took on Collingwood at Spot­less Stadi- um on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Giants and NewsLo­cal pro­mo­tion put the fo­cus on the AFL’s mul­ti­cul­tural round in the heart­land of Aus­tralian di­ver­sity.

The Giants lost to the Mag­pies but scored where it mat­tered — with the 30 kids who got to rub shoul­ders with their heroes.

Lach­lan Stack, 14, of Minch­in­bury, was one of the lucky fans to be se­lected.

The teenager, who has a Mal­tese back­ground, rep­re­sented NSW in a mul­ti­cul­tural cham­pi­onship in Townsville ear­lier this year, and can count play­ers from Africa, South Amer­ica, the UK, Asia-Pa­cific and Mid­dle East as team­mates. He is a ruck­man and half­back for St Clair Crows, an­other team with a mix of back­grounds.

“In Queens­land, I learned a lot about dif­fer­ent cul­tures,

We want our club to rep­re­sent the peo­ple that make up this re­gion Ali Faraj

the food every­one eats, and their re­li­gions,” said Lach­lan, who at­tends Em­maus Catholic Col­lege, at Kemps Creek.

Giants community co-or­di­na­tor Ali Faraj said one the club’s key pil­lars was harmony. “The club has a range of pro­grams through the Giants Care community ini­tia­tive that pro­mote mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism,” Mr Faraj said.

“We work closely with peo­ple from a range of mul­ti­cul­tural back­grounds to in­tro­duce them to AFL, which is of­ten a sport they’ve never had any ex­pe­ri­ence with.

“Western Syd­ney is the most cul­tur­ally di­verse re­gion of Aus­tralia and we want our club to rep­re­sent those peo­ple,” he said.

He said the ini­tia­tive had been a part­ner­ship be­tween the Giants and NewsLo­cal to cel­e­brate the di­ver­sity of the AFL community across Syd­ney. “To have 30 chil­dren take part in the guard of hon­our demon­strates the strong con­nec­tion the Giants are de­vel­op­ing with the community.”

The United Na­tions of AFL guard of hon­our at Spot­less Sta­dium. Pic­tures: Peter Kelly

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.