Club pushes road safety mes­sage

Albany Advertiser - - OPINION - Rourke Walsh

Young blokes and foot­ball clubs go hand-in-hand in many coun­try towns.

But trag­i­cally, those young men are also of­ten the vic­tims of fa­tal road crashes.

In the past two years, clubs such as Ko­jonup and Wyn­d­ham are among those to lose play­ers in road crashes.

Al­bany’s Rail­ways Foot­ball Club also has a tragic his­tory, hav­ing lost two much-loved club men in sep­a­rate ac­ci­dents more than a decade ago.

Sean Plaisted — after whom the award for the Great South­ern Foot­ball League’s leading goal kicker is now named — was killed in a crash in 2001.

Leon Bro­dala, 21, was killed in 2005 when the car he was in crashed near Al­bany.

Rail­ways pres­i­dent An­drew Want said the tragedies were a re­minder of the im­por­tance of stay­ing safe on the roads.

Mr Want said his club tried to pro­mote road safety to its play­ers and sup­port­ers. “It is a pos­i­tive mes­sage,” he said.

“Wear seat­belts, don’t drink and drive, have a skip­per or a des­ig­nated driver.

“For a lot of us coun­try blokes it is im­por­tant we look after our mates and give them a bed for the night if they need it, what­ever it takes to not let them drive.

“We try not to let any­one drink and drive and we push that mes­sage be­cause, at the end of the day, we want them all back next week, the same as ev­ery club.”

Mr Want said the an­nual Belt Up round was a big day for the club and helped drive home the road safety mes­sage.

“It is a mes­sage we need to keep pro­mot­ing,” he said.

“It is one we pro­mote at our club and I am sure oth­ers are the same.

“Ob­vi­ously we have had a cou­ple (of road deaths) in our his­tory and I reckon most footy clubs would have done, sadly. “It is not just our club. “The mes­sage is about all of us. “It might be a sin­gle car death but it af­fects whole com­mu­ni­ties and those things are for­ever.

“It af­fects ev­ery­body be­cause we are a small com­mu­nity.”

WA Coun­try Foot­ball League gen­eral man­ager Joseph Ge­or­giades said the Belt Up round marked its 20th an­niver­sary in this year and had played an im­por­tant role across coun­try foot­ball leagues.

“We are com­mit­ted to try­ing to re­duce the im­pact that se­ri­ous road in­ci­dences have on our coun­try com­mu­ni­ties, which has been dev­as­tat­ing,” he said.

For a lot of us coun­try blokes it is im­por­tant we look after our mates. An­drew Want

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Rail­ways Foot­ball and Sport­ing Club pres­i­dent An­drew Want, cen­tre, with play­ers David Brown and Ty­rone Haines.

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