More than 60 Indigenous players have contributed in discussions aimed at improving conditions and support networks for the game’s current and future Indigenous players.
Those attending this week’s Indigenous Camp were asked to share their thoughts on the biggest issues effecting Indigenous players during a session led by Port Adelaide young gun Chad Wingard and two-time Geelong premiership player Matthew Stokes.
“This doesn’t happen very often, so it’s a privilege to be here” – Chad Wingard
Players voiced concerns about issues such as racism, losing connection to culture once joining an AFL club and the lack of Indigenous people working at clubs. The introduction of Reconciliation Action Plans at all clubs was mooted as one potential outcome of the meeting.
Similar discussions at previous Indigenous Camps have proven productive; one such meeting resulted in the creation of the AFL Players’ Indigenous Advisory Board, on which Wingard sits alongside the likes of chairman Adam Goodes and Indigenous All Stars captain Shaun Burgoyne.
Wingard says the opportunity to positively influence the working conditions for Indigenous players in the AFL industry is exciting.
“This doesn’t happen very often, so it’s a privilege to be here.”
In the aftermath of the discussions, the Indigenous Advisory Board met to discuss the ideas raised and begin planning for the year ahead.
“We discussed everyone’s ideas at the Indigenous Advisory Board meeting – everyone’s ideas were really good – and we’re going to come back to the players and let them know exactly what we’re going to push for in 2015,” Wingard said.