Clubs unite to help Pat Cronin Foundation


IT’S more than premiership points at stake when Kangaroo Flat and Gisborne meet in this Saturday’s football and netball matches at Dower Park.

Round four in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season features the Roos and Bulldogs in the Pat Cronin Foundation match.

All clubs and more than 1800 players across the BFNL will be involved by wearing yellow armbands, official colour of the Melbourne-based anti-violence charity.

The day will be a fund-raiser for the foundation’s crucial work across the country, but also to highlight the dangers of the Coward Punch.

Theme of this weekend’s round which will involves the Eastern District, Northern FNL, and Bendigo FNL is Think PAT – Pause, Accept, Think.

Key messages are to pause and stay calm in situations; accept people do get angry, but violence is not okay; and you do have choices – walk away, defuse the situation, distract yourself.

Bendigo FNL general manager Cameron Tomlins said the initiative was crucial in raising the awareness of the impacts of violence, especially the coward punch.

“Since forming a partnership with the Pat Cronin Foundation last year we’ve had many teams sit through its Be Wise educational presentations in Bendigo,” Tomlins said.

Formed after Pat’s death at the age of 19 when struck from behind in a brawl outside a pub, the foundation has done and continues to do plenty of work in schools, clubs, and community groups.

Pat’s father and foundation director, Matt Cronin said partnerships with football-netball leagues were  incredibly important.

“We believe that reaching young people, particularly young men, will make the most difference in changing attitudes to social violence.

“By giving young people an understanding of Pat’s story, raising awareness about the impact of violence, and offering practical tips and strategies to deal with anger and aggression we can a long way to reducing the statistics.”

The support of Barry Plant Bendigo is also crucial to this day.

Barry Plant is a major sponsor of AFL Central Victoria, the Bendigo FNL, and Pat Cronin Foundation.

“The three organisations are proud to share this connection and share the same values in stamping out the coward punch,” said Tomlins.

Ambassadors for the Pat Cronin Foundation include Richmond great and Channel 7 commentator Matthew Richardson; Fremantle Dockers forward Sam Switkowski; comedian and actor Peter Helliar; and Sarah Rowe who plays AFLW for Collingwood.

After a breakthrough victory on the footy field last round, Kangaroo Flat’s confidence is up going into a big game against the reigning premier.

Both clubs have a 1-2 record.

The Nathan Johns-coached Kangaroos will focus a lot on centre breaks, work at stoppages, and creating enough scoring chances to put the heat on the Bulldogs.

A tally of 45 disposals which included 33 kicks earned Kangaroo Flat midfielder/onballer Liam Collins the Barry Plant Player of the Week award in the third round.

Collins also won nine clearances and finished with 173 ranking points as the Roos won at Maryborough’s Princes Park.

Kangaroo Flat and Gisborne have been among the netball competition’s top three for many seasons.

In this season’s premiership race, Gisborne has won all three matches and second on the ladder.

The Kangaroos have a 2-1 record and are third going into Saturday’s big contest on their court.

Last time these teams met was the 2022 preliminary final which ended in a 52-49 victory for the Kangaroos.