SYDNEY co-captain Luke Parker has extra motivation to represent Victoria if he's picked for next month's bushfire relief match at Marvel Stadium.
BUSHFIRE RELIEF AFL stars to play Vic v All Stars fundraiser
Parker got a closer-than-expected look at the disastrous effects of the bushfires while he was enjoying the Christmas break on the south coast of NSW last month.
The star Swan, his partner Kate, teammate Isaac Heeney and his partner Lauren, were holidaying in Manyana, a small beach town approximately 200km from Sydney, when the fires took hold in the final days of 2019.
Parker told AFL.com.au that the area lost power but they were fortunate enough to get out of town just days before the fire front came through and destroyed the nearby town of Lake Conjola.
"Kate has a holiday house in Manyana and it's one of my favourite places in the world," he said.
"Lake Conjola is only a kilometre away and 90 houses were lost there, and everybody was evacuated onto the beach on New Year's Eve.
Parker, who carried a knee issue through the latter stages of last season and had arthroscopic surgery in September, returned to full training with the rest of the Swans on Friday.
He built his pre-season slowly ahead of the Christmas break but was back to full training on Friday when the Swans returned for 2020.
The dual club champion has thrown his hand up to pull on the 'Big V' against the All Stars, who will be coached by Sydney's own John Longmire.
"I think it's a great concept and with all funds going towards helping those affected by the bushfires, that’s fantastic," he said.
"Obviously the cause is bigger than the game and I know all the players will get right behind it, so it's really exciting.
"I'd love to play for Victoria, but we'll have to wait and see.
"Hopefully it's something that we can continue going forward."
The Swans' players set up their own fundraising page this week with a goal of reaching $15,000, and Parker said the support he's seen from the Australian public has been extraordinary.
"Funding is such a big thing to help rebuild those homes, clubs and buildings that have been taken by the fires," he said.
"But going down there for a holiday and spending time in those communities, visiting their cafes and restaurants and buying their produce, is also a great way to support those in need."