The AFL Players’ Association ramped up the anticipation for the first bounce with its popular annual Season Launch.
The event was held at the Pop Up Patch, overlooking Birrarung Marr, and brought together almost 200 players, members of the media, commercial partners and key industry stakeholders, days out from the start of the AFL season.
Players’ Association board member Leigh Montagna was MC and welcomed guests before hosting an informal panel that featured North Melbourne’s Drew Petrie, Victorian women’s team star Aasta O’Connor and Herald Sun football writer Jon Ralph.
Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh briefly addressed guests, saying “2016 is going to be a big year and we will once again ensure we continue to help players in any way we can’’. He said the PA would continue to ensure players’ voices were heard and would help them ensure they maximised their opportunities in the game and provide a seamless transition to retirement.
He also was pleased that several female footballers had come along to the launch and said the Association was delighted to welcome more than 200 women’s footballers to its ranks as provisional members ahead of next year’s proposed AFL-sanctioned league.
With the Players’ Association Board having held its Annual General Meeting (pictured right) a few hours earlier at the nearby at Taxi Riverside in Federation Square, Marsh announced that Adelaide’s Rory Sloane had been elected to replace departing board member, former Hawthorn player Brad Sewell.
Sloane said he was looking forward to providing a clear South Australian voice and had “developed a very strong interest in players’ rights’’, which he felt was crucial in a year which would include Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
Meanwhile, Allen Christensen, Danyle Pearce, Shane Edwards, Neville Jetta and Jarrod Pickett were appointed to the Indigenous Players Advisory Board, replacing outgoing chairman Adam Goodes, who retired at the end of 2015, Paddy Ryder, Brett Goodes, Matthew Stokes and Lance Franklin.
At the end of the evening guests received a gift bag featuring products from AFLPA partners L’Oreal Men Expert – the official skincare of AFL Players – as well as Mattel Hot Wheels and Fitness First.
To see a photo gallery from the Season Launch, click HERE