By Alice Barker
Six Queenslanders are set to take part in the ninth year of the AFL Rio Tinto Footy Means Business Program, which kicks off in Perth this week.
Fitzroy Greenwool, Clinton Sullivan, Ainslee Potter, Thuraka Sammons, Arnold Conway and William Levi-Gobbey were selected as part of the 50-man squad of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders participating in the six-day camp.
The participants from across the country, aged 18-24, are set to undergo a number of skill development sessions, including cultural awareness activities, football training and education and employment seminars.
On Friday April 5, players have the opportunity to showcase their skills during an exhibition match at Secrest Park Sporting Field.
Former Western Bulldogs player Brett Goodes and local West Australian footballer Shayne Taylor were announced as head coaches of the representative squad.
Andrew Dillon, AFL General Manager Game Development, said the Rio Tinto Footy Means Business Program is a chance for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men to develop their skills both on and off the field.
“The AFL Rio Tinto Footy Means Business Program has played an integral role in developing both football talent and life-long skills in hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who have been involved in the program throughout the last eight years,” he said.
“The skills participants learn and the bonds they create within the program will hold them in good stead to become positive role models within their local football clubs and wider community.
“The footy Means Business Program has become a real standout program for young men and we thank Rio Tinto for their continued support of all our indigenous programs.”
Selected participants are to possess and display leadership qualities and are required to be employed (part time or apprenticeship), undertaking education/training or to be involved in community programs.
Rio Tinto Group Executive Health, Safety, Environment and Managing Director Australia Joanne Farrell expressed her pride in being the principal partner.
“[AFL’s Indigenous programmes] encourage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women to achieve success in education, business, community life and sport,” she said.
“Rio Tinto has supported AFL’s Footy Means Business program for nine years. The program focuses on what it means to be a leader in all aspects of life. We hope the 2019 cohort of participants enjoy their time at the Western Australia camp, where they will be setting goals for employment, discussing strategies for positive decision making and strengthening identity.”