Main content

AFL can do more for indigenous ex-players: Gill

Polly was ahead of his time Past and present players on how the great Graham Polly Farmer inspired them

THE AFL isn't expecting a breakaway indigenous past players union to be established, but wants to lean on its former players more to help the next wave transition out of the game.

There have been reports a group of retired indigenous stars were looking to set up their own association to better cater to the needs of their players.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said the League continues to look at ways to better prepare players for their post-football lives.

Speaking at the launch of the Sir Doug Nicholls Round alongside the AFL's general manager of inclusion and social policy, Tanya Hosch, McLachlan urged caution against the development of a body independent to the AFL Players' Association. 

NEW THREADS Your club's indigenous jumper revealed

"I don't know if it will be separate. What I know from speaking to past players and speaking with Tanya is one of the big challenges in our industry is player welfare generally," he said.  

"A big part of that is players leaving the game. And then there are unique challenges for indigenous players who are leaving the game, and within a subset of that player welfare thing, we think we can do a specific piece of work with those players.

"I don't think we need to be forming separate associations or separate bodies, but what we need to do is have representation and a pathway and a group of people who are indigenous, understand the challenges and are prepared to work uniquely with the Players' Association and clubs to help whichever of those boys – and in the future women – transition out of the game."

Hosch said there is room for ex-players to be more involved to provide guidance on exiting the AFL.

"Past indigenous players know there are some particular challenges for them as a cohort and they want to give back to the industry to make sure clubs, the AFL, Players' Association are in a better situation to support that cohort, knowing what some of the specific challenges are based on their lived experiences," she said.

"I think they've got something to offer and I think we should embrace it."

Hosch and McLachlan were joined at the launch of this year's indigenous round in Melbourne on Wednesday by Aunty Pam Pedersen (Sir Doug Nicholls' daughter) and Kim Farmer (Graham 'Polly' Farmer's daughter), as well as former Essendon and Port Adelaide champion Gavin Wanganeen and premiership Cat Mathew Stokes.

Current Cats youngster Nakia Cockatoo, who wears Farmer's famous No.5 jumper at Geelong was also on hand.

Have you taken the 2018 fan survey?

Use the form below and you can have your say on footy's big and small issues.

Survey not working in the app? Click here to open in a web view

(function() { var qs,js,q,s,d=document, gi=d.getElementById, ce=d.createElement, gt=d.getElementsByTagName, id="typef_orm", b="https://embed.typeform.com/"; if(!gi.call(d,id)) { js=ce.call(d,"script"); js.id=id; js.src=b+"embed.js"; q=gt.call(d,"script")[0]; q.parentNode.insertBefore(js,q) } })()