Kicking The Stigma Project: Tasmania

Today I suited up for the Glenorchy Football Club in the Tasmanian State League Mercury Cup. It was supposedly a decent afternoon for the Taswegians but when the rain came it felt like I was in the Arctic. Glenorchy are a really proud club with players like Peter Hudson, Rodney Eade, Adrian Fletcher, Roy Cazaly just a few names to come through the club. A couple of players and volunteers pulled me aside and spoke about their personal issues with mental health. I think that shows that the stigma is subsiding, which is great.

 

Former Brisbane Lions forward Aaron Cornelius, who also had a stint in the NTFL with Nightcliff, coaches the Glenorchy Football Club but can unfortunately no longer play due to injury. He snapped his leg in half after taking a speccy in the goal square a couple of years ago and has not played since. He has had 24 operations on his leg and was seriously lucky to avoid amputation. It was a very gruesome injury – one that prematurely ended a talented footballer’s career – but he coached Glenorchy to a premiership last season so good to see him getting success in that caper.

 

 

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Funny how football works and how it brings people together. I had the opportunity to play for the Brisbane Lions reserves as a 16-year-old when they would grab Northern Territory State Academy kids as top up players. Cornelius also played in that game as a young bloke trying to break into the Lions’ AFL team. My goal was to not look silly in front of a big crowd, while he had been dominating at that level, so we were at opposite ends of the spectrum. It was always a tricky juggling act mixing raw kids with players on AFL lists and I know some players would flatly refuse to pass the ball to the top ups. But Cornelius was undoubtedly the most unselfish of the listed players. He gave a goal to me that he probably could have kicked himself and he was always a reassuring presence in the change rooms. I suppose there’s no surprise that he has transitioned well to coaching. #ItAintWeakToSpeak

 

 

Lifeline (and hyperlink the word Lifeline to: https://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/ ) is a free and confidential support service which can be reached on 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue (and link that to https://www.beyondblue.org.au/) can be reached on 1300 22 46 36.

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

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