Footy, netball partnership announced

Sean Atkinson (AFL Barwon), Sam Moorfoot (St Joseph's), David Meade (Leisure Networks), Cooper Anic (Bell Park), Luke Maher (Leisure Networks), Riley Brown (St Joseph's) and Sophie Allison (AFL Barwon). (supplied)

AFL Barwon has announced Leisure Networks as its ‘The Official Inclusion Partner’.

The partnership is hoped to continue to lead development of inclusive opportunities in Australian Rules football and netball and strengthen delivery of mental health support to local clubs through the Tackle Your Feelings Program.

“The all abilities footy and netball competitions we support under the AFL Barwon banner have given more people living with disability a lifetime first experience of actively participating in their local club, playing as part of a team,” Leisure Networks chief executive David Meade said.

“Games are played in a friendly, safe environment, which means people of all skill level, all ages and all genders are accepted. It’s all about providing opportunities for people to play sport, people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to without these All Abilities competitions.

The AFL Barwon All Abilities Football Netball League season begins with the netball season on April 23, followed by a football double header at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday April 27.

“And as I’ve said, it’s not just about playing sport,” Mr Meade said.

“Take Sean ‘the Bossman’ for instance. Sean’s been the waterboy at Geelong West Giants for more than a decade. Then last year, thanks to the AFL Barwon Inclusion League, he’s now a team captain at his favourite club.”

“To be able to put on the Giants jumper, on the footy field is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for a long time,” Sean said. 

“AFL Barwon is proud to have delivered several key community initiatives and engagement opportunities over a long period and the recent establishment of the first-of-its-kind, multi-sport All Abilities League, is testament to the collaborative partnership between the two organisations,” AFL Barwon regional general manager Edward Wilson said.

“AFL Barwon is extremely pleased with the establishment of this new era in partnership with Leisure Networks, and we’re excited as to what this will deliver for the local community.”