It all began with the kicking of a ball for Finlay Blacklock, one of AFL Queensland’s Australia Post AFL Multicultural Community Ambassadors.
Born in Edinburgh, to a Scottish mother and an Australian father, his family decided to pack everything up and to move to North Queensland when he was one.
At the age of 11, he started playing Australian Football and, at night, would watch his favourite team on the television.
“I grew up supporting Geelong and now I am based on the Gold Coast, we are now involved with the Suns; so it’s a mix of the Gold Coast Suns and Geelong,” said Blacklock.
Blacklock is one of over 200 Multicultural Community Ambassadors across Australia who help promote Australian Football. He is passionate about the sport and being the best role model.
“I guess anyone involved with AFL is a leader and I embrace it. I try and get involved as much as I can and to give back to the community,” said Blacklock.
Blacklock began working for AFL Queensland’s game development department in 2009, but it wasn’t until the end of 2015 that he experienced working in the diversity space.
“I went to Mt Isa for ten weeks, and I got to work in the Multicultural side of Australian Football,” Blacklock said.
“It’s a diverse region, but I really enjoyed it.”
Mt Isa is known predominantly as a rugby league region, so for Blacklock, one of the challenges faced was getting people to try Australian Football.
“The cultural barrier is one of the challenges faced, and you had children jumping onto a bus for four hours to play one hour of footy. If you didn’t make the effort, you weren’t able to play the game”.
In his short time at Mt Isa he was able to build networks with remote centres such as Dajarra and Camooweal.
He also set up phone classes with students that focused on leadership and community service with an Australian Football theme.
“Football is a tool that we can use to integrate everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, we are all equal and it’s a good thing as we are in position where we can bridge the gap,” said Blacklock.
It’s his work within the diversity sector that has earned Blacklock recognition for his involvement within the community; last year he received the ‘Leadership and Community Service Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Australian Football.
He believes that “it doesn’t matter where you are from, we can all come together and play Australian Football”
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador Program
By Philippe Coquerand
Click here to learn more about the AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador Program