By Ant Wingard
Toowoomba’s own local legend, Ross Savill, has been recognised for his continual commitment to growing football in the local community by being named the AFL Community Ambassador of the Month for July.
Over the past four years, Savill has been an AFL Community Ambassador through his involvement with the University Cougars FC in the AFL Darling Downs competition.
The Cougars, who are chasing a third consecutive premiership in 2018, and Savill have played an instrumental role in the inclusion of the region’s South Sudanese community in the winder society.
Savill has worked on and off the football field to ensure an inclusive environment is achieved for the many new migrants in the region.
As coach of the Cougars, Savill introduces Sudanese migrants to the sport of Australian Rules Football and invites new players to play with the team.
On Tuesday afternoon, Savil, who is also a Minister at Humeridge Church of Christ, helps the area’s multicultural youth to improve their English.
Both aspects of Savill’s commitments to the community were the subject of SBS documentary, Where Are You Really From?
“At one point, we had up to 50 Sudanese kids playing at the club and that was a big deal,” Savil said on the program.
“I think it has given them a connection point – the fact that they’ve been out there playing AFL with us has helped in the broader community in breaking down some of the stereotypes.
The AFL Community Ambassador Program highlights the achievements of the many ambassadors throughout the country, with one person being nominated in every month until September.
Savill, alongside the other nominees for 2018, will go into the running to be the National Community Ambassador of the Year.
The winners will receive two tickets to an AFL Grand Final Experience at the Toyota AFL Grand Final, including two return flights and accommodation in Melbourne for Grand Final Weekend and the opportunity to walk in the Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade.
Queensland Multicultural Month is celebrated across August and Savill’s initiatives in the Toowoomba community are just one example of the commitment AFL Queensland has to diversity and multiculturalism.