Indigenous Sports Chaplain, Tony Riches regularly organizes family fun nights for AFL Families as part of the Melbourne Indigenous Church Fellowship program.
Tony serves as a part time voluntary indigenous players Chaplain across the AFL as well as serve as the Senior Pastor at his indigenous fellowship in Footscray.
On Grand Final Eve this year he ran a family night with special guests Collingwood cheer squad member “Joffa” as well as West Coast Eagles player, Josh Hill’s mother and grandmother. Players and their family and friends gather to enjoy lots of laughs, pies, soft drinks, games, singing and prizes.
Riches said, “We gained an insight tonight into the pressure families of AFL players undergo during the season.” Hill’s mother remarked, “When a player is criticized or booed it is not just the player that is hurt but the family as well.”
Most AFL clubs provide families with training and support to prepare them for life in football. Part of the support includes active pastoral care provided by chaplains like Tony and his wife Francine.