It’s amazing to see the joy sport can bring to people and football did just that in Werribee this week.
On Wednesday the Werribee Football Club hosted Reclink Australia with one of the organisation’s annual football development days taking place at Avalon Airport Oval for the very first time. Reclink is a not-for-profit that provides sport and art programs to disadvantaged Australians to create socially inclusive, life-changing opportunities.
More than 80 people participated in the day with attendees engaging in football related drills and activities as well as being shown the Werribee facilities and hearing from coach Michael Barlow. The development days bring all 18 Reclink football teams together and founder and director Peter Cullen said the occasion is significant in the lives of many of its participants.
“To have the Werribee Football Club with its motto of ‘Community, Driven, Care’ open up its doors to some of the most disadvantaged Victorians and give them the opportunity to play on the great Chirnside Park is just amazing,” he said.
“Many of the people here today are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and are coming from stints in rehab and from isolation into a community setting so it’s a very powerful thing. A lot of them are trying to pick up the tools of the sport and all the things that sport teaches us to go forward and take into our lives, and we really welcome and love the fact that we’ve been hosted by Werribee FC players and staff.
“A lot of the players have enjoyed the banter with Michael Barlow, playing darts, having a kick and talking about his time playing in the AFL and against the team’s that they support. It’s days like these that really cement that experience of community.”
The day concluded with a handover of footballs and football boots donated by the Werribee Football Club and its players which will help Reclink teams and players with much needed equipment. After assisting Reclink with their Development Day in 2019, Werribee Football Club community manager Hamish MacInnes said it was great to be able to the hold event at Avalon Airport Oval.
“Pete, Rhan (Reclink Football Coordinator Rhan Harris) and the team at Reclink do an amazing job providing people from many walks of life with the opportunity to take part in sport,” he said.
“It’s a sentiment the Werribee Football Club shares to provide people the ability to improve their lives through the community that sport creates. To see so many people of all ages and abilities from across Victoria enjoying a kick of the footy and sharing a laugh with some of our players and staff was truly special.
"We’re really looking forward to working closely with Reclink in the future to continue to provide sporting opportunities for disadvantaged people in our community.”