Toast Indigenous Recruitment

Royce Hafey

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I have to begin with a couple of disclaimers which reveal my bias. I'm an unreconstructed lefty from way back and I'm also of Aboriginal descent, so this is an issue dear to my heart. Nevertheless, even Tiger fans who don't share my natural predilection to celebrate our clubs recent success in this area have rightly celebrated it anyway. Who could not enjoy the sight of Stacky doing his bit pregame at Dreamtime? What Tiger heart wouldn't have stirred at the fairy-tale redemption of Marlion on GF day?

Much has been made of the role of the Institute, of the appointment of Xavier Clarke. I also remember the pioneering role of Joel Bowden, who used to take players like Richo to visit remote communities in NT where his Dad used to teach.

Now our club is reaping the reward of this cultural foundation, as we thrill to the sublime skills of the likes of Rioli, Pickett, Stack, Edwards and Bolton. We also get to laugh at the clubs (in particular those in WA) that missed out on multiple opportunities to recruit Stack and Pickett. After the disaster of picking Yarran, Richmond surely had every excuse to be gun-shy of taking a punt of talented indigenous players from the wrong side of the tracks. But they weren't.

In the wake of the grand final I had a little visit to the West Coast and Fremantle boards to have a look at what they had to say about these two and noticed that, while a number of posters expressed regret at missing out, there seemed to be a general consensus. This consensus is that they both had to get out of the temptations of Perth and that Richmond had the culture and infrastructure to deal with whatever issues the two might face.

This is, in my opinion, a cop out - particularly the point about infrastructure. We have the infrastructure at Richmond because WE DELIBERATELY SET OUT TO BUILD IT! Why the f#@k didn't the two teams based in a state famous for its wealth in indigenous talent construct something like that infrastructure? Moreover, to cite concerns about indigenous players going off the rails as a reason not to recruit, when you consider the track record of the non indigenous Eagles players over the years in this regard, is more than a little ingenuous.

My sister recently retired from a long career as a public servant in Canberra. Towards the end of her career she had an amazing job to do with Aboriginal heritage which saw her visit nearly every Aboriginal community in Australia. She said to me once that if you want to know which part of Australia is most like the deep south, don't think of Queensland or the Northern Territory. The worst racism is in country WA.

I couldn't help but think of this as I noticed some of the nasty comments about Pickett - which seemed exclusively to come from West Coast fans (not so much from Freo posters to be honest, but that sort of makes sense).

The final thing that triggered this post was a recent visit to the Pies board where I noticed a thread bemoaning their failure with regards to indigenous recruiting. There was a lot of discussion about why. One poster asked why indigenous players would want to come to a team with a racist president and was duly howled down. But another poster made the observation (without they or anyone else drawing out the obvious conclusion) that Matt Rendell was hired by Collingwood after being given the arse by Adelaide.

That's right. The bloke who was sacked for publicly stating that it wasn't worth recruiting indigenous players was given a job straight away by Eddie.

Which finally got me to thinking about the curious parallels between McChins and Peggy and Benny. All came from working class backgrounds. All rose out of that to join the corporate world. There is a difference, though. Eugene Debs famously stated that he would rather rise "with the ranks" rather than from them. Eddie, the Broady boy, clearly made his decision the other way.
 

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ImaBeliever!

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Spot on. The club has created the essential support systems for Indig players, which has different requirements to that of non-Indig country/interstate recruits. This creates a culturally safe environment, a home away from home where the club meets the need of different cultures instead of forcing people to assimilate and ‘park’ their heritage.

But Richmond seemingly hasn’t approached it as an extra burden, but rather as embracing uniqueness that deserves its own attention and recognition, enriching the club in the process. Powerful stuff.

And it’s not as if other clubs can’t do it, or don’t to a certain extent, but it requires the Board, admin and officials to embrace difference, not just tolerate it.
 

Infamy

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I like your post, but I do think that you've overly simplified Matt Rendell's comments. Plus he quit Adelaide, he wasn't sacked.
He was criticising the industry and saying that it was heading in a direction where clubs wouldn't draft indigenous kids due to the difficulty transitioning into professional sport demands, not saying that this was what should happen. The typical outrage cycle of the internet and media twisted his words to make it sounds like he thought that is what should happen when he never did, he was just trying to put the spotlight on an issue. If you look at what we are doing with the KGI, we are actually helping address some of the issues that he was highlighting around teaching leadership and life structures to assist with employment.

No defence for Eddie though
 

cairo tiger

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I like your post, but I do think that you've overly simplified Matt Rendell's comments. Plus he quit Adelaide, he wasn't sacked.
He was criticising the industry and saying that it was heading in a direction where clubs wouldn't draft indigenous kids due to the difficulty transitioning into professional sport demands, not saying that this was what should happen. The typical outrage cycle of the internet and media twisted his words to make it sounds like he thought that is what should happen when he never did, he was just trying to put the spotlight on an issue. If you look at what we are doing with the KGI, we are actually helping address some of the issues that he was highlighting around teaching leadership and life structures to assist with employment.

No defence for Eddie though
agree about matt rendell, he came from a good place, he cared for his koori boys and wanted them looked after.
 

AuntyBlindEye

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I have to begin with a couple of disclaimers which reveal my bias. I'm an unreconstructed lefty from way back and I'm also of Aboriginal descent, so this is an issue dear to my heart. Nevertheless, even Tiger fans who don't share my natural predilection to celebrate our clubs recent success in this area have rightly celebrated it anyway. Who could not enjoy the sight of Stacky doing his bit pregame at Dreamtime? What Tiger heart wouldn't have stirred at the fairy-tale redemption of Marlion on GF day?

Much has been made of the role of the Institute, of the appointment of Xavier Clarke. I also remember the pioneering role of Joel Bowden, who used to take players like Richo to visit remote communities in NT where his Dad used to teach.

Now our club is reaping the reward of this cultural foundation, as we thrill to the sublime skills of the likes of Rioli, Pickett, Stack, Edwards and Bolton. We also get to laugh at the clubs (in particular those in WA) that missed out on multiple opportunities to recruit Stack and Pickett. After the disaster of picking Yarran, Richmond surely had every excuse to be gun-shy of taking a punt of talented indigenous players from the wrong side of the tracks. But they weren't.

In the wake of the grand final I had a little visit to the West Coast and Fremantle boards to have a look at what they had to say about these two and noticed that, while a number of posters expressed regret at missing out, there seemed to be a general consensus. This consensus is that they both had to get out of the temptations of Perth and that Richmond had the culture and infrastructure to deal with whatever issues the two might face.

This is, in my opinion, a cop out - particularly the point about infrastructure. We have the infrastructure at Richmond because WE DELIBERATELY SET OUT TO BUILD IT! Why the f#@k didn't the two teams based in a state famous for its wealth in indigenous talent construct something like that infrastructure? Moreover, to cite concerns about indigenous players going off the rails as a reason not to recruit, when you consider the track record of the non indigenous Eagles players over the years in this regard, is more than a little ingenuous.

My sister recently retired from a long career as a public servant in Canberra. Towards the end of her career she had an amazing job to do with Aboriginal heritage which saw her visit nearly every Aboriginal community in Australia. She said to me once that if you want to know which part of Australia is most like the deep south, don't think of Queensland or the Northern Territory. The worst racism is in country WA.

I couldn't help but think of this as I noticed some of the nasty comments about Pickett - which seemed exclusively to come from West Coast fans (not so much from Freo posters to be honest, but that sort of makes sense).

The final thing that triggered this post was a recent visit to the Pies board where I noticed a thread bemoaning their failure with regards to indigenous recruiting. There was a lot of discussion about why. One poster asked why indigenous players would want to come to a team with a racist president and was duly howled down. But another poster made the observation (without they or anyone else drawing out the obvious conclusion) that Matt Rendell was hired by Collingwood after being given the arse by Adelaide.

That's right. The bloke who was sacked for publicly stating that it wasn't worth recruiting indigenous players was given a job straight away by Eddie.

Which finally got me to thinking about the curious parallels between McChins and Peggy and Benny. All came from working class backgrounds. All rose out of that to join the corporate world. There is a difference, though. Eugene Debs famously stated that he would rather rise "with the ranks" rather than from them. Eddie, the Broady boy, clearly made his decision the other way.
Great post.

I grew up just outside of Darwin and there was a (not sure what to call it) housing estate set up for indigenous families to live in. I used to go and play with them and soon became pretty good mates with a few of the kids in there. We would go to see Richmond play the tiwi island (I think) team whenever they came up, which was pretty regularly at the time it felt like. I remember a couple of the older indigenous folk talk about how Richmond were a good team to them, and it was a good team for indigenous people. I never really thought about it much, and there were always indigenous blokes playing for the tigers so it wasn't until I saw other supporters, I think it was on the bulldogs board most recently, talking about how those players don't want to go to those clubs because there is no culture set up for them. I hadn't realised that there were clubs out there that didn't have that connection with that community necessarily. I'm not sure how that could happen in this country with the talent and passion in areas like WA and NT amongst the indigenous people.

I'm pretty proud of the tigers and the efforts they make to include everyone as much of a hippie as that makes me sound.

As a side question, why do we use indigenous more often than not? I remember my mates up north saying they preferred aboriginal because indigenous sounded like they were plants or something to that affect. Made sense to me.
 

Royce Hafey

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As a side question, why do we use indigenous more often than not? I remember my mates up north saying they preferred aboriginal because indigenous sounded like they were plants or something to that affect. Made sense to me.
There are different opinions amongst Aboriginal people. I'm not that fussed myself, and am happy to use "Indigenous" because it's meant with respect. There are even some who like to use the term "First Nations" which they've borrowed from the Canadians and Americans because it implies a prior sovereignty - but those would be some of the more political people. BTW, "aboriginal" is an exact synonym of "indigenous", but with a capital A it refers specifically to indigenous Australians.
 

AuntyBlindEye

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There are different opinions amongst Aboriginal people. I'm not that fussed myself, and am happy to use "Indigenous" because it's meant with respect. There are even some who like to use the term "First Nations" which they've borrowed from the Canadians and Americans because it implies a prior sovereignty - but those would be some of the more political people. BTW, "aboriginal" is an exact synonym of "indigenous", but with a capital A it refers specifically to indigenous Australians.
Good to know. Cheers.
 

Cdog71

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It’s also the Korin Gomadji institute inside the Richmond fc for young aboriginal leaders and the relationship with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School where a bunch of kids come from remote communities come to board but go to school inside the Richmond fc.
I’d like to think Peggy and Gale committed to be leaders in all this support and I’m really proud of Richmond for it.
On a footy note I think there is alot more ‘panache’ in the way the aboriginal kids play and particularly the Tiwi boys and it’s in line with the way we play.
I think the amount of kids recruiters see and have to answer to their Boards about after they’ve suggested em, it’s just seems more efficient to focus on the negative and move to the next kid.

The Liam Jurrah story is pretty full on when you look at it, he went through the same draft as Rockliff and honestly I think Melbourne did as much as they could it’s just they didn’t have the support mechanisisms and structure and leaders.
But we do.
 

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Ceehook

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RH - wow lots in that post to respond to
"the temptations of Perth" put the indigenous part aside for a moment
take any young male that has walked a little on the wild side
they are full of testosterone and do have time on their hands being a full time footballer
and for many gambling is a problem , seemingly more for Rugby League players
the clubs can do a lot to make sure their environment is very straight , very safe but that also can be boring
but they cant control every aspect of their lives
plenty have and plenty more will be lead astray by people away from football circles , think Ben Cousins & Dan Connor

for some a move to a new town , is similar to sending boys prone to be naughty to a different school
it does give them the chance for a clean start

as for what Freo & WC do or don't do to accommodate their indigenous recruits I can comment on , Freo did seem to have a connection to the Clontaf ? program for a while , if you know more it could well be as you said they are using it as a cop out

I can see that indigenous players coming to Richmond will have limited contact with other Indigenous by virtue that Melb. has less than 1% Indigenous
and that most of those will be other players at Richmond , people involved in the Institute and Indigenous players at other Melb. based clubs and they will mostly likely be very clean living , focused people. Its just part of the AFL bubble. Could you imagine Captain Trent or Dimma or Bachar taking the boys to a strip club ??? The environment that those guys have created hasn't been good for just the Indigenous boys , I could see the likes of Dusty , Kmac and even Caddy going off the rails in the wrong environment

Keep our house in order and the rest can go …… :)

ABE - the Richmond connection with Tiwi and in particular Pirlangimpi might have gone back to the Maurice Rioli days at Punt Rd
at the time of my visit (1999) there I had the feeling that with Long and Dean Rioli having played for the Bombers that a shift was happening
and they spoke very fondly of Sheedy having visited there
But with Dan Rioli loving Punt Rd now no doubt its swinging back :)
 
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roacheee

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Which finally got me to thinking about the curious parallels between McChins and Peggy and Benny. All came from working class backgrounds.
two are highly intelligent, measured, professionals trained in the legal field

the other is a journalist who partied with the right people and kept the right secrets
 

tigerdan

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What we've done with KGI and indigenous players is echoed in the way the club is run overall.

We all have our own political persuations but what George Megaloensis (sp?) says about the RFC being a model for Australia is spot on. It's not just a lefty slogan, it's the truth.

We have a culture that no matter how long you are at Richmond the expectation is that you will leave a better person than you entered.

I think this is really applicable for our indigenous players because chances are they grew up disadvantaged. But it also goes for guys like Brandon who grew up in a housing commission flat. It also goes for Bachar, who would probably stigmatised as much as any other minority if it wasn't for being a gun footballer.

Our club has changed for the better It makes our footballers better people and I dare say it makes our staff better people, and especially it makes our supporters better people even when the outer is a haven for insults to be hurled on the opposition and the umpires.

I think our club is the kind of place that if you are an indigenous kid you want to get drafted to. It used to be Essendon before they choked on their own hubris, but before it was Essendon, it was us anyway.

I marvelled at Marlion Pickett and his famous blind turn in his first AFL game. I marvelled at how casual he kicked his first goal. I was stoked at Stack and his high five with Betts for kicking that arsey (but deliberate) goal.

Congrats to the RFC and I hope we are an inspiration for all our indigenous fans, and anyone up against it. You'll be welcome at the RFC.
 

JAKLAUGHING

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What we've done with KGI and indigenous players is echoed in the way the club is run overall.

We all have our own political persuations but what George Megaloensis (sp?) says about the RFC being a model for Australia is spot on. It's not just a lefty slogan, it's the truth.

We have a culture that no matter how long you are at Richmond the expectation is that you will leave a better person than you entered.

I think this is really applicable for our indigenous players because chances are they grew up disadvantaged. But it also goes for guys like Brandon who grew up in a housing commission flat. It also goes for Bachar, who would probably stigmatised as much as any other minority if it wasn't for being a gun footballer.

Our club has changed for the better It makes our footballers better people and I dare say it makes our staff better people, and especially it makes our supporters better people even when the outer is a haven for insults to be hurled on the opposition and the umpires.

I think our club is the kind of place that if you are an indigenous kid you want to get drafted to. It used to be Essendon before they choked on their own hubris, but before it was Essendon, it was us anyway.

I marvelled at Marlion Pickett and his famous blind turn in his first AFL game. I marvelled at how casual he kicked his first goal. I was stoked at Stack and his high five with Betts for kicking that arsey (but deliberate) goal.

Congrats to the RFC and I hope we are an inspiration for all our indigenous fans, and anyone up against it. You'll be welcome at the RFC.
Not a bad post there td... 👍
I acknowledge the way your thinking there, good points!
And Kudos to the RFC for setting high standards and everyone there following through with them rather that pretending that that is the case...👍:heart:👍
You wonder whether such standards will flow through the Club, Players, Sponsors and then through to the supporters in general...we all start to become 'a Richmond Man and/or Woman' ...?!?...intriguing thought in these 'false' everthing days! A Football Sports Club driving social change (look out AFL!!! lol)...
 
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tora tora tora

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Dreamtime at the ‘G has been running 15 years now, and no doubt has played a big part in elevating Richmond in the eye of the indigenous players. Not just the game itself, but the education and involvement that the club and players have bought into as a result of it.
I reckon we lucked into it. Sheedy was the driver of the dreamtime game. I don't know how Richmond got to be a participant. Was it just had the yellow colour on our jumper? The indigenous round started the year after anyhow. Our numbers of indigenous players feels like a record high. I'll have to check our lists, but Sheds would've been on his own (?) (oops forgot Yarran) until Daniel joined. 4 years ago. Bolton 3 years ago & Egg, 2 year Stack & Pickett. Chol being on the list is a plus too.*
I like the direction the club is taking. Everything the club does now is genuine. Its support of AMFoundation is excellent. KGI work ~ commendable as well.
Sydney Stack was great in the dreamtime pregame.
Xavier Clarke's role is probably important. (not many indigenous coaches around)

I love the fact there's a couple of Croats, a couple of wogs (until we lost Conca) , oh and that kiwi kid goes alright too. (oops that lebanese ozzie Houli guy goes alright too)
 
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tora tora tora

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Spot on. The club has created the essential support systems for Indig players, which has different requirements to that of non-Indig country/interstate recruits. This creates a culturally safe environment, a home away from home where the club meets the need of different cultures instead of forcing people to assimilate and ‘park’ their heritage.

But Richmond seemingly hasn’t approached it as an extra burden, but rather as embracing uniqueness that deserves its own attention and recognition, enriching the club in the process. Powerful stuff.

And it’s not as if other clubs can’t do it, or don’t to a certain extent, but it requires the Board, admin and officials to embrace difference, not just tolerate it.
Its easy to preach this, have it written in your club's annual report but to practice it,successfully, is an achievement
 

JAKLAUGHING

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I reckon we lucked into it. Sheedy was the driver of the dreamtime game. I don't know how Richmond got to be a participant. Was it just had the yellow colour on our jumper? The indigenous round started the year after anyhow. Our numbers of indigenous players feels like a record high. I'll have to check our lists, but Sheds would've been on his own (?) (oops forgot Yarran) until Daniel joined. 4 years ago. Bolton 3 years ago & Egg, 2 year Stack & Pickett. Chol being on the list is a plus too.* I like the direction the club is taking. Everything the club does now is genuine. Its support of AMFoundation is excellent. KGI work ~ commendable as well. Sydney Stack was great in the dreamtime pregame. Xavier Clarke's role is probably important. (not many indigenous coaches around) I love the fact there's a couple of Croats, a couple of wogs (until we lost Conca) , oh and that kiwi kid goes alright too. (oops that lebanese ozzie Houli guy goes alright too)
Painting a picture of a mighty Tiger here with different coloured stripes...

3e6cacb523bb643d81194b443304277b.gif
 

Ceehook

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I did hear Sheedy talk about indigenous in the game and he talked about the starting of the Dreamtime game

my memory fails me a little but I think it went something like
He was talking to players and about one term "Indigenous " but they came from all over and often didn't speak the same language and they (Ess) had one player from the bottom corner of WA and another from FNQ

he drew a quick outline of Australia on a white board put dots in the two locations and drew a red line between the two spots (think red sash)
and this football club brings them (and others together)
He said he wanted to do something to show case indigenous talent and when the Dreamtime concept was forming in his mind he realised the two clubs he'd been at , their colours made the colours of the Indigenous flag and the rest is history

by the way he talked I got the feeling he was sincere and it wasn't just a stunt
 

PetterdHoisted

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great OP but harsh on Rendell and possible the WA clubs, let's not forget the Eagles detected JON's learning disability 5 minutes after he arrived there after 4 years with us.
 

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