AS Grovedale and South Barwon battled it out for the six points in their Geelong Cricket Association firsts season-opener, off the field there was a much deeper discussion.
The two clubs, who remain fierce rivals on the field, united for a greater cause, speaking up and educating one another on the importance of mental health.
South Barwon president Simon Breuer spoke of the importance sporting clubs have to be a safe place for people to be able to feel comfortable to discuss any struggles they may be having, particularly for young men in an environment that has traditionally not been reserved for open discussion of this nature.
“If two clubs like us can get together, especially with some pretty intense games over the years, it should show that we are supportive of this program and our players,” Breuer said
“It’s the first step in many.
“Everybody’s different and everybody has different issues… it’s difficult, especially for blokes.
“It comes down to the person being comfortable to talk your coaches, your committee or anyone at the club – just to know there are people here if they need.”
Grovedale president Brad Clarke echoed Breuer’s thoughts and added it was not only important for club’s like Grovedale and South Barwon to play a role like this, but there was a responsibility.
“It’s something that I’m personally really passionate about. I see cricket and sporting clubs being at the coalface with the community so we can potentially be the first port of call for people who are not feeling great,” he said.
“We as a sporting community should be more aware of it and better equipped to support people.
“We’re fiercely competitive on the field, but off the field, we’re on the same team.”
The two clubs signed a memorandum of understanding, committing to supporting positive mental health. They will also get some people at the club trained in mental health first aid while the players came together to show their support of the program in what was a step in the right direction on Saturday.