More than points at stake
IT’S not just premiership points on the line when Sandhurst and Eaglehawk meet in Saturday’s finale to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s split sixth round.
Two of the league’s biggest rivals will play a pivotal role in promoting the work of the Pat Cronin Foundation.
A talented footballer, Pat Cronin died at the age of 19 after being the victim of a ‘coward punch’ during a pub fight in 2016.
Players from the Dragons and Hawks will wear a yellow armband in memory of Pat in their match at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Sandhurst will chase a hat-tricks of wins after it took the victory at Golden Square by two goals to retain the Ron Best Memorial Shield.
Key players for the Ash Connick-coached Dragons include Lee Coghlan, Cobi Maxted, Hamish Hosking, Noah Walsh and Tanner Nally.
The Hawks will chase a fourth win to move a game clear of the now fifth-placed Kyneton.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk has Billy Evans, Joel Mullen, Dylan Hanley, Oscar Madden and Lewin Davis in form.
The Pat Cronin Foundation will use the day to give tips to players on ways to handle anger and aggression, on and off the field.
The Pat Cronin Foundation-themed round was played across AFL Central Victoria leagues last Saturday and will continue in the North Central FL this week.
Bendigo FNL general manager Cameron Tomlins said the foundation played an important role in raising awareness about the impacts of violence and providing tools to avoid it.
“We are committed to ensuring our players understand how to deal with emotions, particularly in the context of the game,” Tomlins said.
The Be Wise educational programs have been run in many schools and sporting clubs.
Foundation director Matt Cronin, the father of Pat, said the new partnership was a significant step in promoting awareness of the Foundation in Central Victoria.
“While the Foundation’s specific goal is to end the Coward Punch, we are eager to work with sports clubs as well as schools with specially tailored and fully-funded educational presentations,” said Mr Cronin.
“Outside of sport, we know that thousands of people are hospitalised each year in Australia because of violence.
“There are often many tragic lifelong consequences for the victims, as well as the perpetrators and families.”
The support of Barry Plant Bendigo has played a key role in AFL Central Victoria and the BFNL teaming up to stamp out the coward punch.