New AFL Players’ Association Indigenous and Multicultural Manager Leon Egan says he is thrilled to be able to work and strengthen ties between the PA and the league’s Indigenous and multicultural players.
Egan joins the AFLPA with a wealth of previous Indigenous managerial positions for organisations such as AFL Victoria, Clontarf Foundation, AFL SportsReady and the AFL’s ‘Footy Means Business’ program, along with his own Indigenous cultural awareness training company, Bundyi Giilang.
A proud Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta, Bangerang and Gunditjmara man, Egan hopes to use his position to educate the AFL’s Indigenous and multicultural players about the opportunities and services the AFL Players’ Association can provide them.
“My role is about re-establishing strong connections and relationships with all our Aboriginal boys and girls, as well as the many players with multicultural backgrounds, and increase awareness of the support that’s available to them,” Egan said.
“I guess there’s been a level of disconnect with the Indigenous players right across the country and understanding with what’s available to them such as the services the PA provides.”
After spending 18 years at Telstra as a Telecommunications Technician, Egan spent five years as a Police Officer for Victoria Police, which also included advisory roles for Indigenous issues in the local community.
Egan says his diverse range of life experiences he had before holding jobs in the AFL industry means he’ll be able to provide help and guidance to any issues players may face.
“I think one of the main things for me is being a proud Aboriginal man in a position to support our current Indigenous players in particular,” Egan said.
“I’ve had some life experience across a diverse range of employment opportunities in the past, I can share my own life experiences.”
While acknowledging he doesn’t have the experience of being an AFL footballer on his resume, Egan believes his off-field help will be more beneficial.
Egan says he’s committed to ensuring there’s support for players during and after their time at the elite level.
“I played footy myself, not at the highest level, but I know I’ve got a lot to offer Aboriginal boys transitioning into the game with quality support and mentoring support while they’re in the game and helping them transition post career as well,’ Egan said.
In his role, Egan will also work in partnership with the AFLPA’s regional managers as well as AFL clubs in each state.
Egan hopes his work will also help clubs understand their Indigenous and multicultural players better and deal with cultural differences.
“I’m also very conscious of the commitment required to supporting our regional managers,” Egan said.
“I’m also equally supporting the player development managers and the AFL clubs as well, in relation to understanding their Aboriginal players and in particular the cultural identity of all players across the game.