Minute silence before Sunbury game to honour MH17 victims

James Rizk could line up for Sunbury against Redan despite losing his parents in the MH17 disaster on Friday.
James Rizk could line up for Sunbury against Redan despite losing his parents in the MH17 disaster on Friday.

SUNBURY'S James Rizk could still play football in Ballarat on Saturday despite learning his parents were killed aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine.

Albert and Marie Rizk, both avid supporters and contributors to the Sunbury Football Club, were en-route back to Melbourne when their plane was shot down yesterday morning (AEDT), killing 295 people.

Their son, James, is a 2012 Ballarat Football League premiership player for Sunbury and has been named to play for the Lions against Redan at City Oval.

Sunbury president Phil Lithgow said the club would give James up until Saturday morning to decide if he was going to play, in what would be one of the hardest days in the club's history.

"It's purely a personal choice, we will leave it to James if he wants to play and its up to any other player if they want to play as well," Lithgow said.

"It's a personal choice for everybody, but I think nearly all of the boys will play. There is no pressure on James at all."

The Ballarat Football League offered Sunbury the opportunity to postpone the match to later in the season, with both clubs facing the bye in round 16.

However, the match will still go ahead as planned.

Sunbury will wear twin black arm bands, Redan president Peter Britt said his club was leaning towards also wearing black arm bands and a minute silence will be held before the opening bounce.

"We could've postponed the match, but boys being boys, they want to get out there and play football together and work through it that way. It is what Albert and Marie would've wanted," Lithgow said.

"James is holding up extremely well at the moment, as well as could be expected."

Redan president Peter Britt said his club was willing to do anything it could to support the opposition, with the two clubs sharing the fiercest of rivalries but utmost respect between each other.

"We're keen to give them as much support as we can, we will do whatever is necessary," he said.

Albert Rizk was on the committee of the Sunbury Football Club, while Marie donated countless hours volunteering.

Ballarat Football League operations manager Aaron Nunn express his condolences on behalf of the entire league.

The league is also organising a sports chaplain to attend the club next week to counsel club members and those close to the Rizk's.

"The whole BFL community is absolutely shattered by the news," Nunn said.

"We will work with the Sunbury Football Club in the future with anything they need."

James Rizk has spent his entire career playing at Sunbury.