WATCHING nationwide racism and disrespect directed at Adam Goodes pains many involved in Greater Western Victoria Rebels program. Goodes is one of their own.
The talent development club hopes in showcasing Goodes story, as told in new documentary The Australian Dream, to educate the wider community on indigenous culture. They do so in a bid to help wipe out racism, blatant and casual, in Rebels' communities and they do so to help future generations of promising indigenous footballers, male and female.
Watch the trailer of The Australian Dreambelow
Goodes is one of the Rebels' greatest graduates. Known for his leap and work ethic, Goodes' starring role in the 1997 TAC Cup grand final demanded attention and he was drafted at pick 43 to Sydney Swans that year.
While in football Goodes' decorated record is high-profile, it is in the community space Goodes is a diligent and quiet achiever particularly in championing for indigenous Australians. This behind-the-scenes work was largely the basis for being named 2014 Australian of the Year.
His preparedness to speak up and call out racism became the centre of controversy. The Australian Dream documents the last three years of Goodes' career and the fan behaviour that drove him out of the game.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said the football development program had long had a strong focus on fostering role models. Goodes, who hails from Horsham, was a great example for them to look up to.
"Our program is more than a football program. We want to help boys and girls reach the AFL but we particularly want them to be good leaders when they leave the program, whether that's in the AFL or back in local footy," Mr Partington said.
"There is still lots of casual racism out there and we don't accept it. Attitudes among boys and girls are changing now but this is for future generations as well."
The Goodes family retains strong connections to the Rebels program. Adam Goodes' Trophy, for the boys' best and fairest player, was originally hand-painted by his mother Lisa. This season's design is likely based on Sydney Swans' indigenous guernsey.
Goodes and younger brother Brett, a Rebels' graduate and former Western Bulldogs AFL footballer, are working with the club to create an appropriate name for a new indigenous scholarship fund.
A special showing of The Australian Dream on Wednesday night will fundraise for the scholarships.
The Rebels program has produced a wealth of indigenous AFL talent, including: Jake Neade (Port Adelaide), Dom Barry (Melbourne, Port Adelaide), Yestin Eades (Essendon), Nathan Lovett-Murray (Essendon) and Richmond premiership player Daniel Rioli.
The event on Wednesday night will also feature Rebels graduate and indigenous mentor Will Austin, from Daylesford, who will make an acknowledgement of country and share music and stories.
The Rebels special screening of The Australian Dream is at Regent Cinemas on Wednesday, from 6.45pm. Tickets available at Regent Cinemas.
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